The resort city of Montego Bay is to undergo a major transformation to its seafront, as part of efforts to boost its global appeal and competitiveness.

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett yesterday announced in Parliament, a comprehensive upgrading programme for Montego Bay, including the Hip Strip.

Terming it a reimagining of Montego Bay, Bartlett said the mega transformation plan, which was developed in 2009 “includes physical improvements, new product development, heavy landscaping and pedestrianising of the area”.

While making his Sectoral Debate closing presentation, Bartlett explained that most of the improvements will come after the completion of the transportation and road improvement network and that “it will be anchored by various private sector developments which are being planned along the entire strip.”

He added that, “there are also specific concepts being developed to address safety and security, visitor access and mobility, as well as themed entertainment and recreation”.

“The upgrading is to be undertaken by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and an allocation of $150 million has been budgeted for the current fiscal year to commence preliminary work for the project, which will facilitate a major transformation,” Bartlett said.

Transformation of the Hip Strip will be complemented by what the minister said will be several private sector funded developments that are set to come on-stream, including a 13-storey mixed use facility for hotel usage, residences and entertainment, to be built by a Jamaican investor and opens up the local EP hotel offering