As part of a wider push to position Kingston as a gastronomy tourism attraction in Jamaica, ground was broken on March 17 for the renovation of the courtyard at Devon House. The project, which is valued at approximately $70 million, is being implemented by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, in keeping with its mandate of promoting growth and development in the tourism sector.
“Today we are kick-starting a new development thrust to position Kingston, and particularly Devon House, as the gastronomy capital of the Caribbean and, arguably, the western world,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said at the ground-breaking ceremony. “Gastronomy is at the heart of visitor consumption patterns around the world, accounting for 42 per cent of visitor food expenditure, with visitors spending US$9.3 trillion moving across borders in 2019. If we tap into a fraction of that, our people will reap the benefits. Gastronomy, for us, therefore, represents the number one pillar of growth.”
The renovation, which is being done by Bernard’s Construction Services, will be conducted in two phases. Phase one will begin before the end of the financial year, and the second phase will be conducted in the 2022/2023 financial year.
The new design will address issues such as: uneven surfaces from tree roots in the vicinity; poor drainage, which leads to flooding when it rains; limited seating for patrons and structural damage to wooden columns and pergolas. Additionally, the current design of the area does not allow for ease of movement when traversing the various shops and restaurants in the courtyard.
“Today we are looking at some $70 million for the sprucing up of the courtyard to make it a place of glory, allurement, excitement, and aesthetics — a place that you want to be to have yourself a sense of place,” said Bartlett.