JAMAICA JAZZ FESTIVAL – TOURISM’S KEY NOTE
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (February 2, 2012) – Jamaica’s new minister of tourism and entertainment Dr. Wykeham McNeil has singled out the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival – The Art of Music as a keynote fixture on the annual travel and tourism calendar.
“A lot of time when you go and talk to travel agents and tour operators, they ask you ‘what happens in Jamaica?’ One of the things that comes to mind immediately is the Jazz Festival,” Dr. McNeil told reporters at the 2012 Caribbean Marketplace travel convention at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island last week.
Describing the festival, which took place last weekend in Jamaica, as a magnet drawing Jamaicans and their friends from overseas, the minister suggested “Jamaica could benefit from more events such as this,” especially during the trough periods.
New York-based radio host Irwine Clare said Jamaican-Americans had been keenly counting down to the festival, which featured international superstar Celine Dion as well as an all-Jamaica opening night, in honor of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.
“Jamaicans in the Diaspora look forward to the jazz festival as a yearly vigil, not only for its musical content but to renew friendships and partake of Jamaica’s world class hospitality,” Clare said.
Himself Jamaican, Clare, the managing director of Caribbean Immigrant Services, also recognized the festival for its significant boost and “economic stimulus” to the local economy.
After the festival, a senior writer with the Jamaica Gleaner, Janet Silvera commented: “AMP (Art of Music Productions), organizer(s) of the event, raised the bar several notches up at Jamaica Jazz & Blues 2012, setting a standard they’ll be hard-pressed to match.”
After a breathtaking performance Celine Dion quipped: “Normally you try to warm up the people and then hopefully around the end of the show you got them. I didn’t have to warm up the people (of Jamaica) tonight – they’re hot …there’s no warming up in here.”
Other 2012 festival performers included Cee-Lo Green, Nicole Henry, Heads of State, Jully Black, Earl Klugh, The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards, Destra, Shaggy, Richie Stephens, Maxi Priest and Damion Marley.
CAPTION: Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeil (right) speaks with the media in the Bahamas.