The Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) on Wednesday October 18, 2017 launched the revised Heritage Map of Jamaica. The presentation of the Map was conducted at the Falmouth Heritage Expo in Water Square, Trelawny.
The Heritage Map, an initiative of TPDCo was first created in 1997 to help locals and visitors to navigate their way around the island. The Map which includes historical information and heritage sites across the island was again updated in 2007, and the latest version in 2017. This Heritage Map is the first of its kind and Jamaica is the only Caribbean country to undertake such an initiative.
The newly updated Heritage Map has been diversified to include information to suit the varying interests of visitors and locals. The informational tool boasts greater interactivity and comprehensiveness, such as the categorization of Jamaica’s Heritage assets: Natural-which highlights rivers, beaches and waterfalls and Material -which details historic sites across the island.
Speaking at the launch event, Minister of Tourism, Honourable Edmund Bartlett highlighted the importance of heritage for individual and national development. According to Minister Bartlett “the direct impact that the country’s heritage has on the tourism sector through the authentic experience it offers for visitors is boundless. Heritage is not just a historic note; it is a definition of who you are and how you came to be.”
Dr. Andrew Spencer, Executive Director of TPDCo, in his address to the audience expressed his confidence in the map to contribute to the growth of the tourism sector “The Heritage Map is not only timely, but accurate and comprehensive. The Map will not only benefit international tourists who contribute to a large portion of our country’s economy, but our locals who are also invited to utilize the map.” He said.
The data collection component of the map was conducted by TPDCo’s interns who are graduates of the History and Archaeological department at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The interns were directed by TPDCO’s Urban Planner during their search for information.
Organizations such as the Forestry Department were instrumental in providing information on the Forestry Reserves that have been plotted on the map. The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), through their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team assisted with the plotting of points on the map and provided information on the protected areas that can be found across the island. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) verified the sites included on the map.
The next phase of the Map will be a Mobile Application which will allow for even greater interaction of the map. Users will be able to search for places they wish to visit, view images, gain directions and make bookings.