Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the Old Fort Craft Market in Montego Bay will receive upgrades valued at $33 million. The work will be carried out by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and will include restoration to the heritage park at a cost of $25million and improvement of bathroom facilities at a cost of $8million.
Following a tour of the Old Fort Craft Market yesterday, Minister Bartlett said, “I am taking a holistic view of this upgrade and renovation and have instructed the technical team to come back to me with a design for a repurposing of this Old Fort craft experience that will embrace aspects of our heritage, gastronomy and entertainment.”
Minister Bartlett added that, “The aim is to fully build out the heritage park experience and I want it to be completely integrated and become a more attractive site for our tourists who will get to know our story through a full cultural display which the market has the capacity to provide.”
The upgrade to the Old Fort Craft Market will include refurbishing of the cannons, story boards and wishing well, landscaping, and renovation of the restrooms. The work is being carried out as part of the Ministry of Tourism’s overall strategy to utilize historical sites to add value to existing products and attract more tourists who are interested in these sites. Work is expected to begin on Monday August 20.
In highlighting the strategic positioning and cultural importance of Old Fort Craft Market in the sector, Minister Bartlett concluded that, “This is unique from the rest of the craft market experiences across Jamaica, as Old Fort has the potential for a complete touristic experience through heritage, history, food and entertainment.
The location is truly a gem and when a cruise passenger leaves the ship and looks back at the sea form Old Fort with nice beautiful foliage, local designs and some of our heritage, they will get a real taste of Jamaican paradise.”