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Literary and Creative Arts Vital to Jamaica’s Tourism Product

Literary and Creative Arts Vital to Jamaica’s Tourism Product Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left) shares a light moment with event organiser and poet Yasus Afari (right) at the 13th staging of the Jamaica Poetry Festival held at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre yesterday evening as his daughter, Mik, listens keenly.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has emphasised the important role the literary and creative arts play in driving success within Jamaica’s tourism sector. Minister Bartlett also highlighted Kingston’s emerging status as a cultural powerhouse regionally and indicated the Ministry’s commitment to continue supporting the growth of the local creative industry.

Addressing last evening’s gathering of the 2023 Jamaica Poetry Festival held at the Louise Bennet Garden Theatre, the tourism minister said, “Tourism is a confluence of moving parts, and our culture, food, music, art and poetry are critical to its overall success. The creative arts and tourism work hand in hand to give visitors unforgettable experiences and keep them coming back. As a result, the tourism ministry is serious about uplifting our creatives and through the Tourism Enhancement Fund and its Linkages Network we have dedicated initiatives to doing just that.”

The festival was again sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), event partners for the last two productions. The 13th staging was dubbed the “Arts in Action Edition” and honoured two legendary Jamaicans who contributed significantly to the global recognition of Jamaican art and culture, Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley and Harry Belafonte as well as renowned Lebanese American writer, Khalil Gibran.

In addition to speaking on the harmonisation of the creative arts and tourism, Minister Bartlett also read an excerpt from his 2022 book “Tourism Resilience and Recovery for Global Sustainability and Development: Navigating COVID-19 and the Future” that was co-authored with Prof. Lloyd Waller, Executive Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC). The tourism minister also performed an original poem entitled “Tourism’s Call, Resilience Siren Song” which explored themes such as the pandemic, adaptability and recovery.

“I am delighted to be at festivals like these because it gives us a statement to make. I want you to know that you are part of a global market that is now 5 billion US dollars strong – art, culture and music. The projection for the next 15 years is that it will get to 22 billion dollars. My job is to try to bring you into that mix and enable Jamaica to get a piece of that action,” Minister Bartlett noted.


This year’s line-up included performances from several notable Jamaicans – Prof. Edward Baugh, Jean Lowrie-Chin, Prof. Clinton Hutton, Boris Gardiner, Dr. Winsome Miller-Rowe and event organiser Yasus Afari, among others. A portion of the proceeds earned will be donated to the Jamaica Society for the Blind to help bolster its programmes and services tailored to improving the well-being of visually impaired Jamaicans.