Jamaica’s Tourism Minister wants Jamaicans to capitalize on rich cultural heritage

PORT ANTONIO, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun N’dombet Assamba, has called on Jamaicans to take advantage of their rich cultural heritage to sustain themselves and to inspire them to achieve a greater level of economic and social development.

Mrs. Assamba pointed out that there were numerous economic opportunities presented by the heritage of the Jamaican people which, if handled properly, could earn the country billions of dollars through tourism and other areas of the travel industry.

The Minister made the call at the official launch of the Unique Jamaica Jerk Trail, during the annual Quao Day Maroon celebrations held by the Charles Town Maroons in Portland on Friday, June 23. The function was held at Assafu Yard in Charles Town, and was attended by representatives of the various maroon communities in Jamaica.
Quao Day is observed every year by the Charles Town Maroons in celebration of the leadership of Captain Quao, the maroon leader and military strategist who, along with National Heroine Nanny, led the Windward Maroons in victory over the British troops in 1739.

The Minister noted that there was a US$6 billion travel industry which Jamaica has just started to exploit, and that the country could increase its tourism earnings significantly if it capitalized on even 10 per cent more of the opportunities to relate the Jamaican story to the world.

She stressed that the Government was fully supportive of any initiative aimed at promoting Jamaica and its citizens, adding that the tourism master plan, which has been guiding the government’s involvement in the tourism sector since 2002, spoke to the socio-economic importance of maximizing the linkages between culture, entertainment, heritage and tourism.

Mrs. Assamba praised members of the Maroon community for their contribution to the development of the history of Jamaica, pointing out that they were inseparable from the country’s national identity.

She argued that it was that same identity which was breathing life into ‘Brand Jamaica’, with respect to the country’s dance, music, craft, food and independent spirit.

Turning to the establishment of the Jerk Trail, the Minister said the initiative was an important addition to the local tourism product, and that jerking had captured the imagination of many culinary experts worldwide.

She explained that there was a natural pull to the origins of jerked foods, and that the food was just the hook which came laden with history and an entire way of life.

The Jerk Trail is an initiative introduced by Unique Jamaica, in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, to promote jerking throughout Jamaica.

Among the principal designated centers on the trail are, Charles Town and Boston in Portland, Accompong in St. Elizabeth and Walkerswood in St. Ann.

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