Ocho Rios Seafood Festival set to be a gastronomical delight

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Organisers of the upcoming Ocho Rios Seafood Festival are confident the event will continue to make "further inroads" into the lucrative global gastro-tourism market.

With this in mind, they have collaborated with an international marketing team from Miami to promote the festival as a bona fide gastronomy event to attract visitors to the island.

The festival will be held on Sunday, August 5 at the Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios, in St Ann.

Speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service 'Think Tank' on Fisherman's Beach, Ocho Rios, Senior Marketing Officer for the event, Mortimer Martin, argued that with food festivals now becoming a major draw for tourists worldwide, Jamaica is "uniquely poised" to become one of the world's major gastronomy destinations.

"Gastro-tourism has been growing in leaps and bounds to where it is now a US$150 billion business across the world. With this kind of information we have, since last year, decided to broaden our appeal where we have taken our promotions overseas. Jamaica is well known for its culinary delights and we believe the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival is the perfect fit to tap into that amazingly lucrative market," he said.

Martin said the festival, now in its 12th year, has grown into one of the bigger culinary events in Jamaica and continues to attract a wide cross section of both local and international patrons.

He noted that the residents of St. Ann have embraced the event "as their own," adding that it is a family occasion, which comes with its own spectacular appeal.

Martin said the Jamaica Tourist Board is again on board as a major sponsor, and that the long term goal is to use the festival as a template for other culinary events that will "assist in broadening our gastronomy network."

For her part, Senior Events Consultant for the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival, Sidonie McCleod, said the event is on course to become one of the premier family-oriented festivals in the region.

"What we have long recognised is that there is a vast market out there for quality events that cater for the entire family. This also rings true for families overseas who want to come to Jamaica for vacation and having an event of this magnitude to look forward to," she said.

"Since our roll-out in 2007, we have consistently stuck with our family-oriented theme and this is not about to change anytime soon," McCleod added.

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