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Jamaica’s Tourism Minister salutes Jamaican national heroes through building ‘culture tourism’

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett in paying tribute to our national heroes, said that Jamaica was now actively developing areas of cultural tourism as a means of comparative advantages and creating local distinctiveness in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Speaking to some 200 friends and members at the 25th annual anniversary gala of the Caribbean American Cultural Group in West Palm Beach last Saturday (Oct. 17), the Minister said that cultural tourism was becoming one of the largest and fastest growing markets globally and along with creative industries were being used increasingly to promote destinations.

For example, the Minister spoke of the recent commissioning of the Flagstaff Heritage Tours Visitor Center in St. James. This attraction, he said, was providing visitors with an insight into the history of the Maroons as well as the biodiversity of the Cockpit Country.

(file photo)Hon. Edmund Bartlett

Describing other subjects forming cultural tourism, the Minister spoke of lifestyle and history of people in urban and rural areas – their art, architecture, religion, traditions of indigenous cultural communities and other elements that shaped the way of life in varying cultures. “Destination Jamaica is no different”, he emphasized.

According to the Minister, through a heightened promotional campaign, Jamaica already secured 850,000 air seats from United States and Canada, and is making every effort to continue to generate active interest in the island as a popular tourist destination, as the campaign broadened its outreach to Latin America, Europe and the Far East, he added.

Mentioning development of other attractions taking place on the island, the Minister spoke of construction of Dolphin Cove at Point, in Hanover to be completed sometime next year at a cost of $500 million (J). Additionally, he also described improvement of the ‘Elegant Corridor’ – the stretch of highway that connects the City of Montego Bay to the many hotels in the parish of St. James, and this involved lighting and special landscaping works.

Turning to Jamaica’s economic recovery, the Minister challenged his audience of primarily Jamaicans, that as ambassadors, they would be contributing to the island’s economic recovery through tourism. As visitors from the Diaspora, you would be selling the island as a prime destination through the bonds of friendship established between nationals and other ethnic groups “bringing more of the world’s citizens to our island and sharing our culture with them.”

As Jamaica prepared itself for the third biennial National Diaspora Conference, next June, Minister Bartlett encouraged nationals to become involved in the various local, regional and national associations in their respective overseas communities ‘as your contributions was critical to the organization of the Jamaican Diaspora,’ he stated.

Caribbean American Cultural Group was established in 1984 to establish bonds of friendship between Caribbean nationals and Americans in Port St. Lucie, a suburban community in Southeast Florida. The current President is Jamaican national, Kingsley Bigsby.

According to the chairperson of the Public Relations committee, Howard Duncanson, the membership has grown to nearly 100 persons of Caribbean descent. The group has partnered with local charities supporting education, donations to children in lesser fortunate circumstances, and food-feeding programs. On the other hand, the members have also benefited charities in the Caribbean, including the Missionaries of the Poor through Father Holung and the Jamaica Hurricane Relief efforts along with other programs across the Caribbean.

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