Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, revealed that most of the 1,200 beds offered by Airbnb, a popular online travel marketplace, in Jamaica are in Trench Town and other inner-city locations. Bartlett singled out Jammin Tours, a Trench Town tour operator, for providing an innovative and important tourist product in that community. Nora Blake, the executive chair of Jammin Tours, said that Trench Town is a must-see destination for visitors to Kingston because it is known worldwide as the birthplace of reggae. Interest in Jamaica’s music, which is so important to the people and in the culture, brings millions of dollars into the country. Trench Town’s special appeal can be traced directly to its music connection, said Blake. There are plans to make spaces in Trench Town more visually pleasing, said Scheed Cole, head of 360 Recycle Manufacturing. He has designed several sculptures, including one of reggae artiste Bob Marley, to place around the community. Bartlett is expected to meet with Blake and Cole to discuss additional development plans for Trench Town, with the goal of making the area a major tourist attraction. The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with online travel marketplace Airbnb in December of 2016, and already, 32,000 visitors have come to the island through Airbnb. The diversity of accommodations offered has expanded the range of ownership in the tourism sector and allows more entrepreneurs to enter the market, according to Bartlett.
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