By Douglas McIntosh
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- State minister for tourism and entertainment, Damion Crawford, says the ministry is seeking to use entertainment, especially reggae music, as another drawing card to attract visitors to Jamaica.
State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Damion Crawford, speaking at the launch of activities in observance of Reggae Month 2014, on January 28. This year’s activities are being celebrated under the theme: ‘The Journey Continues…’ Photo: Melroy Sterling
Speaking at the launch of Reggae Month 2014 on Tuesday, Crawford said the ministry decided to focus on entertainment, as they wanted something that “draws persons to Jamaica to experience more than just the beach.”
In this regard, he said the ministry decided to partner with stakeholders, such as the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), promoters of the annual Reggae Month celebrations, held in February, to promote a ‘Kingston for February’ initiative overseas, thereby using entertainment to reposition Kingston in a way that persons can, once again, see that Jamaica, in its totality, is the ideal destination for visitors.
“What we have found is that during February, all the hotels on the north coast… in Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay… are full, and the ones in Kingston are relatively empty,” he said.
The state minister said that, this year, Jamaica’s entertainment was used, for the first time, as the base of a strategic advertising and promotional campaign in several of the country’s overseas markets, adding that Reggae Month promotions were done in Canada, Chicago, New York and Florida.
“We are getting good feedback that it is actually leading to some bookings,” Crawford said.
Commending JaRIA on their organization of Reggae Month, Crawford expressed the hope that it will be used to “celebrate the audiences that have supported the entertainers over time, the persons who have consumed the music, and to win new support for the music.”
This year’s fifth staging of Reggae Month is being held under the theme: ‘The Journey Continues…’
Commemoration of the month coincides with the anniversary of the births of two of reggae music’s most established and recognized exponents – Dennis Brown on February 1, and Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley, on February 6.
Reggae Month 2014 officially kicks off on Sunday, February 2 with an Ecumenical Service at the University of the West Indies Chapel, Mona, St. Andrew. This will be followed by a slate of events.
These include the 13th annual five-day Trench Town Community Festival, from February 5 to 9; a trade fair; as well as a number of concerts and live events; and symposia.