Portland future of Ja tourism

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s chief salesman and marketer, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, says Port Antonio, Portland, is the future of Jamaica’s top-end ultra luxury product offerings.

The resort town, which has been tagged the ‘Forgotten Paradise’, is to be schematically developed, the minister told some 200 travel agents at a breakfast hosted by the Jamaica Tourist Board yesterday at the 30th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference now on in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The announcement follows an interview Mr. Bartlett did with The Gleaner last week, in which he said he had “just concluded discussions with two contractors to do comprehensive resort development for Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio is the next resort town to be done”.

The result is to see the transformation of the town fixed in time and turned into an ultra-exclusive mecca, complete with cruise and marine facilities, a private airport and boutique accommodations ranging from five to seven stars.

According to the minister, both hotel mogul Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and billionaire Michael Lee Chin have given their commitment and are among the mega investors expected to put in top-class resorts there.

Lee Chin will redo the old Titchfield Hotel and Butch Stewart will fast-forward plans for the prime beachfront property made famous by the Tom Cruise-starred film Cocktails, the Dragon Bay Hotel, which he purchased in 2002.

Complementary to the minister’s announcement, among the new facilities to be added to Dragon Bay are 35 luxury suites with the Sandals signature butler service, an oriental restaurant, English pub, Caribbean restaurant with the famous Boston jerked pork features and a sophisticated European spa.

In the meantime, The Gleaner has learned that the Port Authority of Jamaica is also planning to build a mega mariner at Folly to accommodate luxury yachts, while Blue Lagoon, which owes its colour to its 200-foot depth, is slated for major development.