Capitalising on the Fleming legacy and the James Bond brand
The Goldeneye-linked resort village being built in St Mary by Mr Chris Blackwell is the kind of development that is pleasing to us.
But even more important is our anticipation of the project's potential to further promote Jamaica as a vacation and investment destination, as well as the economic impact it will have on St Mary.
As reported in the Business Observer this week, the high-end resort, when completed, will feature just over 90 rustic villas and cottages, a marina, swimming pools, spa, a natural, secluded lagoon and an offshore bar.
From what we have seen, courtesy of an artist's impression, the resort is very impressive and will no doubt appeal to visitors with discriminating tastes, particularly those who patronise elegant resorts around the world.
In fact, the Business Observer reported Mr Roger Brown, the director of development at Island Outpost - the company behind the resort - as saying that 50 per cent of the villas in phase I were sold after the developers went to the market in New York, Los Angeles and London late last year.
That, we believe, is a statement of confidence in the product itself and Jamaica on a whole, especially for the fact that the average cost of each unit is US$1 million and that owners will be required to pay a monthly maintenance fee of between US$1,000 and US$4,000.
It is obvious that the people who have already bought units in this resort are also attracted by its association with James Bond, the fictional British spy created by author Ian Fleming. Indeed, Mr Fleming penned his James Bond novels at Goldeneye in St Mary during the time he owned the property, which is now owned by Mr Blackwell, who operates it as a resort catering to high-end visitors.
Although Mr Brown assures us that the developers of this new resort intend to respect the Fleming legacy rather than the Bond brand, we suspect that they will encounter some difficulty doing so. For the reality is that James Bond has become one of the film industry's most successful franchises ever, and the character's lure cannot easily be overshadowed.
But this, we believe, has created a wonderful opportunity for Island Outpost, in conjunction with Jamaica's tourism authorities, to market both the Bond brand and the Fleming legacy.
Some years ago, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) staged a 'James Bond Festival' in the St Mary/Ocho Rios areas. The event generated invaluable publicity overseas for Jamaica.
At the time, we had hoped it would have become an annual event. That, unfortunately, has not happened.
There is, however, no reason why Jamaica should not be the destination where each new Bond film has its world premiere, and where tourists can visit the house where the Bond novels were conceptualised and written.
The JTB and JAMPRO, we suggest, should engage Mr Blackwell in discussions on this possibility, after which they all should approach the film industry with the aim of not only having Jamaica host Bond world premieres, but including the island in the production of the films.
The island, we feel, can earn considerable sums from its historic link with Messrs Fleming and Bond, given that the Bond films enjoy a cult-like following that ensures their success at the box office.
If anyone doubts this, just consider that last year's release, Casino Royale, earned US$128.9 million in only four weeks.
http://commanderbond...n...&item=39254 - Jamaica Observer