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New cultural attraction opens in Jamaica's Montego Bay

Jamaica's main tourism mecca, Montego Bay, has opened a new cultural centre and museum in the heart of the city. Following investment from Jamaica's Tourism Enhancement Fund, the centre is set to become a major cultural attraction breathing new life into downtown Montego Bay and revitalizing tourism in the area.

New cultural attraction opens in Jamaica's Montego Bay

A new cultural centre and museum has opened in Jamaica's tourism capital, Montego Bay, following $30 million investment in the area by the country's Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). The centre houses an art gallery, museum, artisan village, performing arts space, bistro and gift shop and is set to be a major cultural attraction drawing visitors to the heart of the city.

Situated in historic Sam Sharpe Square, the new centre showcases the island's culture and history from the Arawak era to the present day, with multidimensional exhibits, local arts and crafts, music and dance performances and cultural events. The large Georgian-style building used to house the Montego Bay Civic Centre and stands on the site of the city's old courthouse where Jamaican national hero Sam Sharpe stood trial for leading slave rebellions in 1831-32.

Jamaica's Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who opened the facility, said the initiative to transform the former civic centre was visionary. He said:

"Discussions are already underway involving the parish council, the TEF, owners of businesses in the area and other stakeholders to transform Sam Sharpe Square into the architectural jewel I know it has the potential to become."

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Noel Arscott, said the opening of the facility is of major significance, not only to the creative arts sector, but to the overall development of Montego Bay. He noted that the centre will act as cultural hub giving rise to more major events being held in the city.

Jamaica's second largest city, Montego Bay's coast is dotted with dozens of beach resorts and has long been the island's main tourism mecca. But in recent years it has lost out in popularity to other resorts on the island such as Negril and Ocho Rios. According to the TEF, the investment is intended to "breathe new life into downtown Montego Bay" and revitalize tourism in the area.

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