It goes without saying that the Jamaican culture has pulled many visitors to the island. Just recently in a Verzus battle featuring veteran Dancehall artistes Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, over half a million viewers tuned in. This was a history making moment for Instagram with the largest live audience to date. Our music, our language and our heritage are refreshing and unique so that people have made Jamaica a bucket list item and continue to grace our shores.
In a recent virtual presentation, Dr Andrew Spencer, our Executive Director highlighted the benefits of heritage for our tourism sector. The insightful presentation spoke to the diverse and rich history, the model architecture, our language and most important, the authenticity of the Jamaican people.
This “realness” is hard to replicate and has been known as a pull factor for guests, coupled with our national pride and collective awareness that is so appealing to others. We have shown that we remain true to ourselves and our country, hence the reason for such a solid tourism product.
These factors of loyalty, rich and unique history and unique culture helped pave the way for the bolstering of the heritage component of tourism. For instance, our Maroons are known to have their own currency and government, our majestic churches from time periods spanning two hundred years and the use of our terrain for the filming of the blockbuster series of films “James Bond”
However, the recent turn of events being the global pandemic, has tested the industry, resulting in much loss and modifications. Notwithstanding, the positive outcome was a coming together of great minds to develop the resilience of the sector including the heritage component.
In his presentation, Dr. Spencer mentioned the use of interactive technology to achieve the best outcome. Technology, he mentioned would help to maintain balance by assuring the safety of locals, guests and the tourism workers. Additionally, using the cluster model for heritage tourism which maps elements such as restaurants and accommodations in one location will help to prevent the need for excessive travelling. Having every need and want in one place will help to safeguard the health and safety of citizens and guests.
Heritage, undoubtably is one of the ways to ensure that the product remains unique and competitive. Considering factors to develop the sector such as safety requirements, funding, the human resource and income generation, the benefits of bolstering this type of tourism will provide benefits for everyone involved. The tourism sector, with a full and widespread integration of heritage will build our resilience, particularly from external forces.
As our Minister of Tourism, Honourable Edmund Bartlett so ably said “Our culture and heritage are the bedrock upon which Jamaica’s tourism sector has been built. It is rich, vibrant, multi-cultural and born out of a dynamic and tumultuous history that has influenced our music, our food, our visual and performing arts, even our native tongue.”
Visit our website at https://www.tpdco.org/covid-19healthprotocols/ to view the tourist resilience corridor map and health protocols