KINGSTON, Jamaica – Delegates attending the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference 2017 have commended conference organisers for having the hosted the event in Kingston, the country’s capital.
The 2017 renewal was the first time in nine years that the conference was being held in the capital of Jamaica.
“I appreciate that it was held in Kingston,” said Adaoma Patterson, President of the Jamaican Canadian Association. “Most of the issues discussed affected Kingston; and it was important that we immersed in the capital city. How can you solve problems if you are not immersed in them?” she asked.
Audia (last name withheld upon request), from New York, also thought that holding the conference in Kingston was a positive move. “I like that it was in Kingston. The change of venue is good. Kingston has fewer tourists at this time of the year; and I could enjoy being Jamaican, walking around the city and buying my own food,” she said.
For Gary Powell, a retired Jamaican living in London, downtown, Kingston is an untapped tourist destination.
“I’m a firm believer that downtown Kingston should be redeveloped. There has been some progress in this regard; however, some people are now seeing the light. When I walk downtown, I see the beautiful architecture of the buildings, which show the rich multi-culture of the city,” he observed.
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the government entity with responsibility for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, recently disclosed that it had linked with the private sector, in giving tourists a “total cultural immersion,” through the development of a lifestyle centre in downtown Kingston.
There is also projection that “rooms for visitors” to serve as short-term accommodation for tourists in Trench Town, Tivoli and Rose Town, who want to explore the streets of the former home of reggae and Rastafarian Ambassador Bob Marley, and its surrounding environs.
At the same time, The World Bank has recommended that Jamaica diversifies its enclave, “all-inclusive,” tourism product, to embrace: ecotourism, cultural tourism and farm tourism.
Earl Jarrett, chairman of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference, in his message said that he was pleased to welcome Jamaicans living overseas and returning citizens to the seventh biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.
“The Jamaican Diaspora has contributed to Jamaica socially, culturally and economically. For many years, they have brought much needed expertise, financial support, return visits to boost tourism; and provide an outlet for Jamaican exports, thereby contributing directly to economic growth and job creation,” he said.
The Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference, which was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade in collaboration with public and private sector organisations was held under the theme “Partnering for Growth.”