As part of efforts to build out the tourism sector, the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) recently hosted nine Community Tourism Entities (CTEs) at a Jamaica Community Tourism Development workshop at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
Under the theme “Toward Success,” the three-day workshop aimed to guide aspiring community based entrepreneurs and to assist existing Community Tourism Executives in the further development of their businesses.
The Community Tourism training follows the completion of the Community Tourism Toolkit, which includes the “Handbook for Community Tourism Enterprises” and “Guide to obtaining a Jamaica Tourist Board Licence.” Together, the guides provide detailed information on the best practices for sustaining a CTE and the process for licensing the business. The Community Tourism Toolkit was created through the partnership of the Ministry of Tourism, the Jamaica Tourist Board, TPDCo and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Deron Dixon, Director of Corporate Services at TPDCo, who brought greetings on behalf of the agency, said, “You have taken a bold step and your attendance shows that you are interested in growth and development. By taking advantage of trainings such as these, you are also making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of communities, which will assist in our country’s development as we work to make our home a place where visitors can come and feel at home.”
Joy Roberts, Deputy Executive Director of TPDCo, highlighted the importance of Community Tourism Entities and the impact they have on the tourism sector. She went on further to say that CTEs offer a unique and gratifying experience for visitors, particularly the millennials who are keen on visiting the homeland of the likes of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt.
The training exercise was led by expert tourism professionals Hugh Shim, Executive Director of Montego Bay Marine Park Trust; Judy Karwacki, owner of Small Planet Consulting; and Terry Hood, Principal of the Northshore Leadership Project; both of whose businesses are based in Vancouver, Canada.
Community Tourism is a promising aspect of tourism in Jamaica as it focuses on introducing the culture and history of Jamaica to both locals and visitors. The experience differs from the resort type vacation as it offers an educational and enriching experience. Most noteworthy however is the economic contribution to the local communities as individuals are able to gain employment through these businesses.