Real Jamaican experience - Hanna seeks to develop ecotourism along way to Bob Marley's St Ann home
Every year, countless visitors from all over the world journey to Nine Miles, St Ann, to tour the home where Reggae legend Bob Marley was born and to look at his final resting place.
The trip takes them through many rural communities nestled in the hills of the garden parish, which Member of Parliament for South East St Ann, Lisa Hanna, said boasts some of the most scenic views on the island, as well as authentic Jamaican experiences that are largely unexplored.
The MP has taken the initiative to implement a rest stop starting with six shops and a sports field, which includes a cricket pitch in one of the communities, called Alderton.
"The buses come through so often, and they go from, sometimes, St Ann's Bay straight up to Nine Miles and there is really nowhere along the way [to stop]. My goal is to really develop my constituency into a nice ecotourism friendly place, where we can have little eateries, little stops," Hanna said.
"My goal is to be able to also give tourists a real, authentic feel of what rural Jamaica is like. There are craft vendors who are from that area, who make beautiful craft baskets. They'd be able to do tours and see some of our farms where we plant lettuce and other cash crops. They'd also be able to get a good little wood-fire curried goat or some jerk chicken."
Hanna said she has already finalised plans with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO), and work on the project could begin in six weeks.
She said the rest stop is part of a wider vision for development in her rural constituency. Six million dollars has already been secured for the project, but Hanna said she will need at least another $10 million, and is imploring the Government and other investors to get on board.
"I have already spoken to Adam Stewart from Island Routes, and Mike Drakulich (of Mystic Mountain), and Mr Drakulich is coming to meet with me and look at the place. I have reached out to the Marleys as well. There are others that I will speak to," she said.