Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says 10 beaches are being upgraded this year under the Government’s beach development program.
The initiative, which is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) through support from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and other partners, aims to provide access to quality public-beach recreational facilities.
Minister Bartlett noted that J$104 million (US$774,910) has been spent on three beaches and work is under way on others, which will be opened by year-end.
“The next one we will open is going to be Lyssons [Beach] in St. Thomas, where we spent J$49 million (US$365,590) to upgrade; and then Boston Beach, then Winnifred Beach [both in Portland]. We are going to do other beaches in the west,” he said.
Minister Bartlett was speaking at the official opening of one of the upgraded beaches, Marking Stone Beach in St. Mary, which was renovated at a cost of approximately J$38 million (US$283,218).
The facility now boasts new male and female bathrooms, a new guard-house, three gazebos, installation of benches and chairs for patrons, and beautification of the grounds through the planting of trees.
Bartlett said he hopes to see the property fully maintained and utilized as an entertainment zone to offer benefits to residents.
“That is why we have to spend so much on expanding our beaches – to make sure that there are adequate beach and recreational facilities for the Jamaican people as well as for the tourists,” he said.