Jamaica Prime Minister, the Most Honorable, Andrew Holness has signaled that Jamaica’s Tourism is ripe for more investments given the consistent growth and development in the sector.
Speaking at the official opening of the Excellence Group’s newest luxury resort at Oyster Bay, Trelawny, yesterday (October 18), Prime Minister Holness highlighted that, “Jamaica has continued on its path of unprecedented growth in the area of tourism over the last two years. Last year 4.3million tourists visited Jamaica’s shores and revenue grew in the sector from US$2.1 Billion in 2016 to approximately US$3 Billion in 2017.
Jamaica is also committed to attracting 5million visitors by 2021 and if we attract this number we will be able to achieve revenue of USD5billion. To investors locally and abroad it is a tremendous time of opportunity to invest in the Jamaican tourism industry and in Jamaica overall as the country’s economic reform program has had a significant positive impact.”
In congratulating the work of the Excellence Group in Jamaica, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said, “The development here has proven that it is possible to have turnaround time for major constructions that are less than eighteen months. This helps to satisfy investors that when they come to destination Jamaica they can start their business quickly after they have broken ground.
We see that this development having completed its turnaround within eighteen months now opens the doors for the continuation of the investment activities as we are expecting that the construction of the villas will start very soon.”
The opening of the adults-only luxury resort in Oyster Bay will bring to total three internationally recognized brands to set up operations in Trelawny – Royalton Resorts and Melia Hotels International. Last year the Excellence Group broke ground for the 315-room property valued at US$110 million. The company has already committed to further investment in Jamaica through additional developments in the near future.
Minister Bartlett added that “We know that you have 2500 rooms within the Latin American region, but we know there is a promise to have 2200 rooms in Jamaica so that makes a statement of the importance of Jamaica as a destination of choice and we are excited about that.”
Overall, Spanish investment in Jamaica’s tourism industry amounts to approximately US$1.7billion and about 25% of the rooms built in Jamaica are the product of Spanish investment.
Reggae legend Freddie McGregor has been confirmed as a headline act for the match between Nottingham Forest Ladies and the Jamaican Reggae Girlz.
The match, which will take place on Sunday 28th October at Nottingham's City Ground, 3pm kick-off, will include the appearance of international Reggae artist Freddie McGregor who will sing the Jamaican national anthem before the match and perform during half time and after the game.
A contemporary of Bob Marley and other reggae greats, McGregor broke into the Reggae scene in the 1980s with the release of "Bobby Bobylon". He is a pioneer of ska and reggae music and remains an icon of the genres. Other popular hits of McGregor's include "Big Ship", "Push Comes to Shove" and "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" which made it into the top ten in the UK charts. Two of his albums were nominated for Grammy Awards. He has been a part of reggae at every stage of its development and has been crucial in shaping its evolution over the years. He was presented with the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards in Washington DC in 2013.
A Jamaican-themed carnival atmosphere is expected to descend on The City Ground for the match with local Caribbean food and music lined up. The game will be a celebration of the Windrush generation and of Caribbean family culture in Nottingham and the English Midlands. Initiated by Nottingham Forest FC, the match is actively supported by the Nottingham City Council, the Bob Marley Foundation and the Jamaican Government.
Orange Polar Bear, a raw, funny and heartrending new play about today’s younger generation trying to find their place in a fast-changing world has its UK premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 1 – 10 November.
Co-written by Korean writer, Sun-Duck Ko and London-based Canadian playwright, Evan Placey, this bilingual original play is an international collaboration between The REP, the National Theater Company of Korea and Birmingham company, Hanyong Theatre. Inventively staged, and pulsating with energy, Orange Polar Bear will be performed by an ensemble of 3 British and 3 Korean actors.
William and Jiyoung are fifteen, living invisible lives in chaotic cities on opposite sides of the world. William is British and lives with his mum – a Nigerian immigrant who cleans up after other people who can’t be bothered to do their own hoovering. She doesn’t understand why people want to flee the country, but William does. Jiyoung is Korean, stuck with her dad and grandma in a fifteenth floor flat, and looking for her mother who left thirteen years ago. When the two find themselves adrift in a mysterious space, floating like two polar bears on melting icebergs, they wonder if they’ll ever make it back.
Director Peter Wynne-Willson said: “Despite a distance of over 5000 miles, younger generations in Korea and the UK are subjected to the same relentlessly bleak 24/7 news cycle. They share concerns about climate change, threats to national security, a widening gap between the rich and poor, as well as domestic issues that concern us all – family and friendship, just as they are forging new identities as young adults.
“It’s been wonderful to see how our two writers and our international creative team and cast have worked together to tell a story that crosses boundaries and, while firmly rooted in the contrasting cultures of Britain and Korea, could be played on a stage anywhere in the world and still have relevance.”
Playwright, Evan Placey, said: “The world feels like it’s ending, the future bleak, when you are bombarded by the news on so many sides. How do you deal with this as a young person? When adults are making decisions which will affect your future, and you’re constantly being told things are getting worse – for the environment, for safety, politically, financially – how do you remain optimistic and engage with the present? Inspired by the passions and worries of teenagers we met and worked with in Seoul and Birmingham, Orange Polar Bear explores that question in a theatrical way through the intertwined stories of our characters William and Jiyoung.”
Producer, Judy Owen said: “Orange Polar Bear is a story about separation and connection on many levels, which couldn’t be more urgent in a world where so many are uprooted. At a time when countries are becoming ever more insular, Orange Polar Bear is determinedly outward looking. Our extraordinary Korean actors and talented, young British actors perform together as one ensemble to tell a story that is clear and resonates emotionally in surprising ways.”
Orange Polar Bear is an exciting collaboration with one of South East Asia’s leading contemporary theatre companies, the National Theater Company of Korea. Performed in English and Korean, the production features powerful visuals and sound design, with design by award-winning young art director Yeo Shin Dong and original music by internationally renowned composer Yeong Gyu Jang, known for his many film scores (Train to Busan; The Good the Bad, the Weird; A Bittersweet Life) and for his glam rock Korean folk fusion band Ssing Ssing, who recently performed in Soho and at the South Bank Centre.
The cast for Orange Polar Bear is: Ah-ron Hong (Father), Cheongim Kang (Grandmother), Minju Kim (Jiyoung), Michael Kodwiw (Arthur), Rasaq Kukoyi (William), Tahirah Sharif (Sarah).
Orange Polar Bear is designed by Shin-Dong Yeo with costume design by Nuri Na and Kay Wilton, lighting design by Simon Bond, sound design by Lim Seo Jin, music composed by Yeong-Gyu Jang, props design by Kwon Min-Hee, movement by Yun Jung Lee and video projection by Shin Dong Yeo and Byung Mok Jung. Tessa Walker, The REP’s Associate Director, has supported the writers as dramaturg.
Orange Polar Bear is the third collaboration between The REP and Hanyong Theatre following the presentation of The Bridge a bi-lingual piece about the Korean war co-written by Ko Sun-Duck and Peter Wynne-Willson, and Looking For Yoghurt a play in 3 languages (English, Korean and Japanese) for young audiences and families co-produced with Joyful Theatre (Korea) and Kijimuna Festa (Japan). The project forms an important strand of the REP’s international work, including productions directed by Calixto Bieito (Hamlet, Celestina and The String Quartet’s Guide To Sex and Anxiety), the partnership with BE FESTIVAL – an annual festival of European performing arts, and a co-production with Teatro Kismet in Bari, Italy of Philip Pullman’s I Was A Rat!
As part of the international collaboration on 7 November The REP hosts a symposium, Making Multilingual Theatre. A full day of panel discussions and demonstrations exploring experiences of multilingual theatre and a chance to meet the cast and creatives of Orange Polar Bear and hear in detail about the making of the show. The symposium is co-convened by the multilingual performance project Creative Multilingualism (University of Oxford) and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (Birmingham City University).
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will arrive at the Kingfisher Bay Resort jetty on Monday 22nd October, as part of the official royal tour in conjunction with the Invictus Games.
The royal couple will meet with the State Premier and local Butchulla People for a 'Welcome to Country' smoking ceremony before the unveiling of a plaque for the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative in the central rainforest on the island.
Harry and Meghan will then head to one of Fraser Island's iconic lakes, to learn about the rich biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region. They will also learn about the military history and secret Z Force Commandos that trained on the island during the Second World War.
As the only Queensland destination included on the itinerary, the team at Kingfisher Bay Resort are preparing a warm welcome for the couple and the hundreds of media from around the world that are arriving to document their every move.
Fraser Island is much-loved locally, but with international interest rising, it is anticipated that Fraser Island will fast become one of the most talked-about destinations on the royal agenda.
With 206,970 acres of protected, World Heritage-listed environment and over 100 freshwater lakes, the untamed wilderness of Fraser Island's rugged sandy terrain are a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers around the world.
Kingfisher Bay Resort is the gateway to Fraser Island, and every year thousands of guests choose to stay on the western bay for an immersive nature experience.
As Harry and Meghan experience this piece of paradise for the first time, it will be an opportunity for the rest of the world to see what makes this little-known Aussie icon so special.
Jubilant sustainable tourism campaigners in Aruba are celebrating one of its leading resorts becoming the first carbon neutral hotel in the Caribbean.
This environmental global standard has been bestowed on the Dutch Caribbean island's Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, one of the leading adults-only properties on renowned Eagle Beach.
The award is a major coup for Aruba, which has a number of sustainable tourism initiatives in the pipeline and whose government has set a target of making the island fossil fuel-free by 2020.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is featured by a number of UK tour operators, making it an easy option for UK travellers. With the property providing a net zero carbon standard, those guests leave no footprint, but can go home with a memorable, guilt-free vacation.
Ewald Biemans, owner and CEO of Bucuti & Tara and passionate environmentalist, has steadfastly woven sustainable practices throughout the resort's policies and culture since opening in 1987. Recognised as the Caribbean's most eco-certified resort, Bucuti & Tara was the first ISO 14001 certified hotel in the Americas, the first in the Caribbean to achieve LEED Silver certification and has been named the World's Most Sustainable Hotel/Resort by Green Globe. Other awards include being named TripAdvisor's No. 1 Hotel for Romance in the Caribbean for 2018.
Biemans himself has received multiple awards as a green leader, including being the Caribbean Journal's Green Hotelier of the Year and last year he was the first-ever individual to receive Leader in Sustainability Gold Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and National Geographic Traveler, an honour previously only awarded to organisations. He is often called upon for public speaking engagements and expert insight about sustainability.
Initiatives at the Bucuti & Tara span the simple to the complex with every resort service being scrutinised and improved upon. Giving every guest a reusable water canteen has resulted in keeping 290,000 single-use plastic water bottles annually from landing in Aruba's landfill. Offering healthier portions provided guests with more sensible – and desirable - serving sizes, with a by-product of reducing food waste by 30 per cent. The resort installed the island's largest solar panel system - the maximum the government would allow.
Ewald Biemans explained: 'Our guests have chosen Aruba for our naturally beautiful beaches, stunning turquoise waters and the happy, healthy island community. We must protect and preserve our environment on a meaningful level to deliver this experience in the future.
'I believe the hard work, passion and dedication of our sustainability team to achieve carbon neutrality will inspire others to consider similar action.'
A giant rainbow flag draped from the heights of the biggest rainforest in captivity heralds Saturday's Proud Eden event at the Eden Project.
The 37m-long banner was unfurled from the top of the 50m-high Rainforest Lookout, which sits at the top of Eden's Rainforest Biome.
The flag is one of the largest in the world and has been loaned to Eden by Cornwall Pride, who used it as a star attraction for their recent Pride Parade through Newquay. It will now be moved to Mediterranean Biome at Eden where it will serve as the backdrop to the Proud Eden stage.
The grand celebration of LGBTQ culture takes place at the Eden Project on September 29 starting at 6pm.
The special evening will be packed with a diverse line-up of top performers, acclaimed speakers and a cutting-edge exhibition.
Kate Francis, Eden's programme producer, said: “How great to see the Cornwall Pride flag flying at Eden. This iconic symbol proudly flying in our Rainforest Biome is a stunning way to herald our Proud Eden event on Saturday.
“The event promises to be even more vibrant and diverse than last year, boasting a fabulous mixture of music, comedy and performance art."
Proud Eden is being staged in association with Penguin Pride and Gay Times and supported by Cornwall Pride which campaigns for equality and diversity in the county.
Headlining on the Penguin Pride Stage in the Mediterranean Biome is actress, musician and outspoken LGBT activist Heather Peace.
Heather has appeared in London's Burning, Ultimate Force, Lip Service and Waterloo Road and is also an accomplished singer with four jazz albums. She is a patron for Manchester Pride and the LGBT charity Stonewall.
With award-winning beaches, Aruba is a top choice for sun-worshippers. But for those who want to make even more of this Dutch Caribbean island's natural playground, there is an abundance of choice.
The island is widely recognised as a top diving and snorkeling destination but there's plenty of action above the surface, too, and if you've ever fancied conquering the waves on a surfboard, Aruba is the place for you!
With steady breezes, Aruba is also recognised as one of the best wind and kite-surf destinations in the Caribbean and whether you are an experienced surfer or an out and out beginner, you can join the action.
The island boasts a number of watersports companies offering lessons for beginners and friendly locals are always happy to pass on tips. Expect to pay in the region of US$95 (approx. £73) for a two and a half hour surf board lesson (based on minimum of two people), while board rental is around $35 (£27) for a full day.
Aruba's beaches can be roughly divided into two categories: idyllic on the island's west side and rugged on the east side. That means you will find beaches that are perfect for those who are learning to surf as well as beaches that will challenge even the professionals. These beaches are also worth a visit for those with no interest in surfing whatsoever. The acrobatic manoeuvres of the surfers in the waves offer impressive entertainment.
Among the most popular beaches are:
Malmok Beach: The most popular beach for beginners. Here you will find several surf schools and rental facilities. The beach itself is quite narrow but the clear water is shallow for the first 60 metres offshore.
Hadicurari Beach: Also called Fisherman's Huts, this is the surf mecca of Aruba. Every year in June or July, the prestigious Aruba Hi Winds World Challenge takes place here, the largest windsurfing competition in the Caribbean. But during the rest of the year the beach is a popular destination for water sports fans with their colourful sails and kites. The spectators on the beach also enjoy the aerial and water acrobatics of the pro surfers; some jump metres high above the waves.
Boca Grandi: On the most southern tip of Aruba's rugged east coast, this is a great beach for experienced surfers. Swimming is not recommended because of the strong currents and high waves, but skilled surfers will have a great time here. The beautiful beach near Aruba's second city of Saint Nicholas is worth a visit in its own right, if not as a spectator perhaps as a beachcomber - the rugged surf deposits a lot of coral, driftwood, and other small ocean treasures on the beach.
Award-winning American videographer Tim Blanton can walk freely without pain thanks to a successful bilateral knee replacement at Health City Cayman Islands, the popular tertiary care medical facility in the Caribbean.
Blanton had always been a very active man. As a professional videographer, he regularly filmed underwater videos for National Geographic, but for a few years his ability to dive in the ocean to get his shots was limited by serious arthritis in his knees, which gradually reduced his ability to walk even short distances.
His painful condition led him to consult with Dr. Alwin Almeida, Orthopedic Surgeon and specialist in joint replacement at Health City in Grand Cayman, who recommended bilateral knee replacement surgery.
"Six weeks ago I was barely able to walk, I could not go up or down stairs and I had some major problems with my knees. I had my double knee replacement at Health City; it's been an amazing experience beyond my wildest expectations. I saw world-class medical care from some of the finest doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, the medical staff, the administrative staff at Health City, they were outstanding," said Blanton, who resides with his wife Barbara in Roatán in the Bay Islands of Honduras.
Knee replacement surgery is necessary when medications and other support are no longer helping to relieve pain from severe arthritis. A prosthesis is then needed to replace the damaged tissue in the joint. The procedure relieves patients' pain and allows them to resume their normal activities.
Before having his surgery, Blanton went through the necessary preoperative checkups to determine if his case qualified for the total replacement of both knees.
"His knee joints were giving him considerable pain from arthritis. And he was seeking to find a place where he finally could have the surgery. When I checked his knees they were pretty bad, and he needed a knee replacement in both," Dr. Almeida recalled.
Blanton's surgery was performed in two stages, with each knee being operated several days apart. He achieved highly successful results and was able to return to Honduras two weeks after his second surgery. Six weeks after the knee replacements, Dr. Almeida traveled to Roatán for a post-operative checkup to make sure Blanton was recovering well.
He was delighted to find that his patient had made a full recovery, and could go up and down stairs, bend over and even walk short and medium distances without using a walker.
"I feel like a new man," declared Blanton.
Le Plaza Hotel's General Manager Marc Pierre-Louis hails Naomi Osaka's stunning victory at the US Open as "an achievement of which all Haitians should be incredibly proud."
Speaking in the euphoric aftermath of the 20-year-old's 6-2, 6-4 upset of 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams last weekend, the Haitian hotelier congratulated the first-time champion, whose father, Leonard Francois, is Haitian.
"Haitians all over the world, including here in Port-au-Prince, were watching the match and cheering throughout. Naomi played brilliantly to beat one of the greatest tennis players of all time, somebody whom she has idolized since childhood. That took nerves of steel," he said, while also highlighting the lifetime grit, tenacity and brilliance of Serena Williams, one of his favorite players.
"Naomi competed with confidence and all people of Haitian descent should be celebrating her victory," Pierre-Louis asserted.
While Osaka competes for Japan - the country of her birth and her mother's homeland - Pierre-Louis noted that the blossoming women's singles star is always quick to recognize her Haitian heritage, especially since she grew up with her Haitian grandmother in the United States.
"She is clearly proud of her Haitian heritage and it's inspiring to see her acknowledge it and its influence on her. The people of Haiti would be honored to welcome Naomi for a visit to celebrate our first Grand Slam champion properly, and for Haitian youth to be inspired by somebody they can identify with," he said.
Notable talents of Haitian heritage, including Bruny Surin and Barbara Pierre (athletics); Orlando Calixte (baseball); Joachim Alcine (boxing); and Vladimir Ducasse (American football), have achieved success in the sports world. "Because they represented other countries doesn't stop us from saluting them and sharing in their success," said Le Plaza's general manager.
"Naomi Osaka is the latest addition to this illustrious list and we'll continue to watch her progress," he affirmed.
A pioneering project to transform the lives of people in the Congo rainforest has secured a funding boost of £1.4million.
The University of Wolverhampton will work in five Congo Basin countries with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) as part of the project.
The £1.4m funding has been awarded to the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
University experts will support forest governance with partners in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo on the project for the next three years.
The project was launched in 2017 when CIDT secured funding of £5million from the European Union.
New match funding to the project from the UK Department for International Development will support partners to collaborate with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to ensure effective engagement and response from forest law enforcement agencies, law makers and judiciary.
The next phase of the Citizen Voices for Change (CV4C) project will be launched in October with a workshop in Congo Brazzaville.
Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Programme Manager for the Citizen Voices for Change project, said: “We are delighted to have secured £1.4m from the Department for International Development for this important project in the Congo Basin.
“The aim of the project is to work in partnership with local organisations and communities to ensure private sector companies are working within their contracts and operating within EU timber regulations governing deforestation and legal exports.
“The new element of the project with partners Interpol focuses on effective engagement and response from forest law enforcement agencies, law makers and judiciary in national forest policy processes.
“This is a strategic new project component which will strengthen the role and visibility of the project and its partners in the region as champions of good forest governance.”
Global industry professionals and travel consumers have shown their appreciation for Sydney's natural beauty, iconic landmarks, first-class food and wine scene and exciting events and festival calendar by voting it as Australasia's Leading Destination in the 25th Annual World Travel Awards.
Event organisers said the accolade recognises the commitment to excellence that the city has demonstrated in all areas over the past twelve months.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said he was delighted that Sydney had been named the leading destination amongst such a strong field of contenders in the region.
“Australasia offers such diverse and high quality tourism experiences, and the fact that Sydney has taken out top spot in the World Travel Awards reinforces that it truly is a destination for everyone,” Mr Marshall said.
“In the year ending March 2018 Sydney again achieved its highest volume of international visitors, nights and expenditure on record exceeding the four million international visitor mark for the first time,” he said.
“There's so much more to our great city than our iconic Harbour Bridge and stunning Opera House, and visitors are seeing that for themselves.”
“When it comes to beautiful weather and outdoor adventures, innovative dining experiences, world class events and warm and inviting hospitality, Sydney can not only rival destinations in Australasia but also globally.”
“Sydney is also the gateway to an enviable line-up of rural and regional experiences and I encourage visitors to New South Wales to also go beyond the city and experience more of what our amazing State has to offer.”
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.
Sydney's award as Australasia's Leading Destination was presented last night at a sold out gala ceremony at the luxurious InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.
The beneficiary of this surgery was Cayman Islands national rugby player Edward Westin whose shoulder had dislocated more than 100 times after years of repeated injury. Even after corrective surgery, the joint was so damaged that it would dislocate in his sleep.