|Posted by msvibez on July 22, 2011 at 1:31 PM|
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has reported solid bookings in hotels across western Jamaica as a result of this year's staging of Reggae Sumfest.
"Bookings are very strong and it's further indication that mega events like these do bring heads to beds," the tourism minister quipped.
The musical event, dubbed The Best Reggae Show on Earth, was scheduled to kick off last night with the popular Dancehall Night, which highlights the stars of the dancehall music genre. The show will climax this Saturday night.
The tourism minister expressed that normally events of the ilk of Sumfest, bring between US$2million to US$3million into circulation.
"Normally, the money that circulates during events like these is somewhere in the region US$2 million to US$3 million," Bartlett argued.
He added: "In addition to the hotel rooms that are full, the restaurants and the transportation and other sectors are also beneficiaries."
Meanwhile, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Davon Crump noted that the chamber was in full support of the event, and he was equally optimistic about the earnings expected to accrue to the economy from the musical event.
"Reggae Sumfest is a signature event for Montego Bay, which is well known for its embrace of the popular culture. Its renewal every year adds to the vibrancy of the economy of the city and Jamaica overall. In fact, even though much is made of the visitors coming in, we do have locals spending maybe more than they are used to at this time of year," Crump argued.
He added: "So it adds to the culture life of the western region and Montego Bay in particular, and no doubt contributes significantly to the local economy, the restaurants, hotels, clothing stores, and other businesses."
In the meantime, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Linette Williams Martin, commander of the St James Police Division, revealed that in the wake of the music festival, the police have increased operations in the parish.
"We have beefed up security overall. We have pushed more personnel on the streets and along the highway. We have two more additional highway patrol vehicles that we have added to our fleet to boost our patrols," SSP Williams told Splash.
Up to press time, it was not clear whether a replacement had been found for R&B crooner R Kelly, who had to withdraw from the festival due to illness.
On Wednesday came news that Kelly, who along with hip hop sensation Nicki Minaj formed the international component of the festival, had been admitted to hospital to undergo an emergency operation to drain an abscess that has appeared on his tonsil.