KINGSTON, JAMAICA – Jamaica’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has expressed delight at news that the push to have the Blue and John Crow Mountains designated as a World Heritage Site has yielded significant success. This follows the UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s unanimous decision to have the site inscribed on the prestigious World Heritage List. The decision was made at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee Meeting now underway in Bonn, Germany.
The inscription resulted from a strategic partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agencies, and the Ministry of Youth and Culture. The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has provided over $ 13 million to date to support the venture. Overall the TEF has allocated some $761 million to heritage and cultural projects over the last two years, some of which has been used to finance the upgrade of several heritage sites across the island.
The designation marks the first World Heritage site for Jamaica and is also the first mixed (cultural and natural) site for the Caribbean sub-region. The Blue and John Crow Mountains is now one of only 32 mixed sites, which include several world renowned sites such as the The Taj Mahal of India, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China.
Included in TEF $ 13 million allocation, is a tranche of over $ 4.6 million, which facilitated the trip by the Jamaican contingent led by Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna to Bonn, Germany where they successfully defended Jamaica’s nomination at the meeting, which runs from June 28 – July 8, 2015.
In expressing satisfaction at the achievement Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill said “I am elated that the initiative was successful and it is proof of the far-reaching impact that partnerships can have. I am confident that the designation will help to enhance the appeal of Jamaica to travellers with a special interest in culture and boost our standing as a competitive destination in accordance with the Word Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI).”
Executive Director of the TEF, Mr. Clyde Harrison, said “we are very pleased with the outcome of this project and our support for the venture has yielded significant dividends.” He added that “this designation will significantly boost our efforts to develop heritage tourism locally, which is in-keeping with TEF’s drive to safeguard heritage sites and points of interest.”