'Extra' boost for St Bess

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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GT Taylor, organiser of the annual Christmas Extravaganza concert in St Elizabeth, believes his show is a major boon for South Coast tourism.

“The entire parish benefits in some way from the event, from merchandisers and retailers, to vendors, to hotels; the event generates millions of extra income for the hard-working business people of Black River,” GT Taylor told the Jamaica Observer.

Extravaganza's 18th staging takes place on Christmas Day at the Luana Complex in Black River, St Elizabeth.

Sizzla, Beenie Man, Rygin King, Govana, Tee Jay, Agent Sasco, Etana, Ken Boothe, Leroy Sibbles, Wayne Marshall, and Tanto Blacks are among the performers slated to perform. Sound systems Chromatic Live and Bass Odyssey, as well as selector Digital Chris, are also rostered.

It's the event's third consecutive staging in the breadbasket parish, affectionately called St Bess.

“We get direct benefits from the event every year from people, both local and overseas, staying at our hotel. It's been quite a while since that show has been around and we actually look forward to it bringing in visitors every year to Black River and the hotel. The entire town benefits from the Extravaganza,” said Juliet Mohan, manager of the popular Idler's Rest hotel in St Elizabeth.

A manager at the hotel since 2009, Mohan believes that more entertainment events of this nature and scope are essential to the economy of this area.

“It is a major boost, and we actually need more events of the same appeal and calibre to bring more people to the south coast,” said Mohan.

With the growing demand for nature-based tourism, the South Coast is poised for growth in attracting niche groups such as bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and those seeking a working holiday or edifying experience based on archaeology or conservation work.

Last year, Taylor experimented with a 'park-and-watch' option, designating an area where both tourists and Jamaicans could watch the show from their buses and motor vehicles from a sloped area that operated like an amphitheatre.

“It was the first time we were doing this and it was very successful,” he said.

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