Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has welcomed the US$10 million Harbour City Shopping Mall now under construction by private Chinese investors living in Jamaica.
The minister said it augurs well for the tourism product in St James.
“I think that it will allow us to bring some of the high-end products that we can now have available to visitors and to re-establish Jamaica as a shopping area in the region and Montego Bay because, located as it is on the waterfront here, it offers the opportunity for cruise as well as, you know, stopover visitors to come in and to shop,” stated Bartlett.
“So, my hope is that we will get quality players to be involved in the provision of the goods and services here. I see top-class restaurants too, they have space for that. And yes, we need really good restaurants in Montego Bay…and the fact that it overlooks the ocean,it is going to be a very romantic area too for visitors,” argued Bartlett.
The minister was speaking with OBSERVER ONLINE following a tour of the facility on Thursday. It was among several activities during a wider tour by the minister which also included stops at the Harbour Street Craft and Cultural Village, the Old Fort Craft Market and the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, and a boat ride to look at products in the immediate post-COVID-19 recovery period.
Thursday’s tour was the second of the minister’s all-island tour. The first took place last week Thursday in Hanover and Westmoreland.
“What we wanted to show you was our vision for the creation of the new look, Montego Bay waterfront for tourism. The purpose of course is to show how the boardwalk is going to be established.. and the anticipation for elements of product development for entertainment, you know, for culture, for merchandising – particularly for our artisans and our craft entrepreneurs,” the minister explained.
Bartlett said the boardwalk will pass through the Chinese-owned establishment which will have 15 suites, a rooftop pool, sports bar, eight restaurants, a supermarket, a pharmacy, and inbound stores among others.
Owner of the facility, Shifu Huang said construction started in August of last year and is slated to be completed this July.
Bartlett said shopping is a big thing for tourism. In fact, he reiterated that shopping was one of his outlined pillars of growth for the tourism sector.
The minister noted that Jamaica is lacking in quality shopping which results in visitors coming and leaving for other ports to shop.
“We want to help build more of the shopping infrastructure. This facility offers a good opportunity. It is well positioned, well appointed,” the minister stated.
Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay and councillor for the Montego Bay South division, Richard Vernon, who was also on the tour, welcomed the investment while speaking with the OBSERVER ONLINE.
“We welcome the development because as a small island developing state, we have limited options for public revenue and when we utilise foreign development investment (FDI) we actually get to do investments that we are not otherwise able to do because the funds are crowded out that we would use to do certain investments,” explained Vernon, noting that the planned development is a good addition to the local business architecture of Montego Bay.
“It is on the waterfront and it enhances the appearance of the waterfront. And, I am encouraging those who have buildings and operations on the waterfront to ensure that their investments or assets are in good order so that it can present a good facelift and appearance to Montego Bay upon entering and also to improve the aesthetics of the front page,” added Vernon.