Jamaica Enticing Travellers with Local Food

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (second left), bites into a ‘Bad Dawg’ sandwich at the launch of Devon House as the first Gastronomic Centre in Kingston. Others (from left) are: Head of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley; Chairperson of the Gastronomy Tourism Network, Nicola Madden-; and Senior Director of Technical Services in the Ministry, David Dobson. (Photo credit: JIS)


KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 27, 2017 – The rich, authentic and tantalizing tastes of Jamaican foods and wines are to be showcased when well-advanced plans by the Tourism Ministry to market Jamaica as a hub for Gastronomic Tourism materialize.

The first step in claiming a piece of that market is the establishment of a number of Gastronomic Centres across the island, with Devon House, in Kingston, as the first. For that heritage site, the Ministry plans to improve upon its environs by providing a space where visitors from across the world can come to cook their own meals.

“We’ll be establishing a kitchen. We’re inviting the world to come and cook at Devon House. Families can come; no chef will be in the kitchen, you are the chef,” says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett.

As part of the culinary experience, a fully stocked farmers’ market will be established where visitors can purchase spices and condiments to include in the cooking of meals at Devon House.

Gastronomic tourism refers to that branch of the sector where persons make trips to destinations where the local food and beverages are the main motivating factors for travel. According to the 2012 United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report, 88.2 per cent of persons “consider that gastronomy is a strategic element defining the brand and image of their destination.”

And head of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, says Jamaica wants to carve out a slice of the market.

“If food is the dominant reason why people are travelling, then we should be marketing our foods, and what we do with food, this is one of the driving factors,” she said.

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