South Coast Business Development – there’s more to doing business in Jamaica

Let’s admit it – the biggest business ticket on the South Coast is seemingly tourism. From St. Catherine (don’t forget Clarendon and Manchester) to St. Elizabeth there is a raft of tourist activities. Sailing with crocodiles by the Black River Safari, taking a bite into delicious fish meals by Little Ochi, pausing for a kiss by Lover’s Leap or getting a ‘healing’ at Milk River Mineral Bath and Spa. The South Coast has something to do for every visitor, whether local or foreigner.

Resort operators in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth alone, contributed US$82.4 million in earnings to the economy from visitor arrivals in 2015. Proof that tourism is a viable business option on the South Coast.

Put away the sunshades and broad hat for a moment, the South Coast has business opportunities outside of tourism. Take for instance agriculture. St. Elizabeth is the bread basket of the country. This parish’s land and climate conditions make it conducive and palatable for agricultural produce. Dozens of men and women currently provide produce from the parish for export, hotels as well as for households across the country. Black River also supports an important shrimp and freshwater fishery.

The South Coast is perfect too for renewable energy generation. Wigton Wind Farm in Manchester has proven this. The South is windy, sunny and lies where – on the coast! This makes it a prime target for wind generation or solar and hydro power. Clarendon and Manchester each has a renewable energy plant.

Still not convinced that the South is prime location for business? Look at this. Just recently, the Government announced that Jamaica is to benefit from the development of an industrial zone in St. Elizabeth by Chinese firm, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company, JISCo. The firm is to be launched at a cost of more than US$2 billion. The integrated development will focus on mining, manufacturing and power generation.

Tourism still on your mind? No problem, mon! You may offer a rustic luxury tourism service. Dive in. There may even be a loan waiting for you. The Government launched a $20 million loan facility for operators of small resorts and attractions in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth. Beneficiaries can access up to $2 million each under the scheme, which is being financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and administered by Jamaica National Small Business Loans Limited. This loan facility aims to diversify Jamaica’s resort product offerings by facilitating tourism developments at the community level.

There’s more to doing business in Jamaica than Kingston. Check out the South Coast. Discover the many fascinating places along Jamaica’s South. It’s just a one-hour drive from the Sangster’s International Airport in St. James. While coming from the east, there’s the North-South Highway providing easy access in and out of the Coast. There’s the over 100-year old Manchester Gold Club waiting for you. Glide through the beautiful tropical countryside. Chit-chat with Maroon descendants in Accompong. Get drunk on rum knowledge at the Appleton Estate Rum Tour. Take a rest at a fishing village or a natural waterfall. The towns of Mandeville, Whitehouse, Treasure Beach, Milk River and Black River await you for business exploration.

Imagine, your business could be a tourism haven, or if not, after a gruelling day at the office you could relax at one of the many tourism spots – as you’re based on the South Coast.

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Shelly-Ann Thompson - Contributor
- Shelly-Ann Thompson has been employed in the media sector for more than 15 years; with experience in print, television and online. She's equally passionate about the visual and performing arts which she believes should be more engaged for positive social change.

The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of JAMPRO

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