• JIS News

    Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Ndombet Assamba, has said that by creating a friendly environment for persons with disabilities, Jamaica would be better able to attract tourists, who are physically challenged.
    Mrs. Assamba was speaking at the official launch of the Friendly City project yesterday (Sept. 27) at the Hilton Kingston hotel.
    An initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Tourism Product Development Company, the project is designed to improve designated sidewalks around the island, to make them more accessible to the physically challenged. The work should be completed in time for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup.
    The Tourism Minister said that the project was in keeping with the Master Plan for sustained tourism development and would not only benefit tourists, but Jamaicans as well.
    “Jamaicans, who feel respected, happy and can easily negotiate their way around our country, are likely to be even more productive citizens and certainly will also assist in being warmer and more knowledgeable hosts to our guests, thus enhancing the visitor experience,” she stated.
    Mrs. Assamba pointed out that as a country, “we are already seeing some very positive outcomes of this project including the development of standards to make accommodations more accessible to persons with disabilities as well as a revised policy to govern the transportation sub-sector”.
    This revised policy, she informed, would include significant incentives for persons, who import disabled friendly vehicles.
    “This project is a living testament to the World Tourism Day theme for 2006, which is: ‘Tourism Enriches’. It is not all about money; individuals, families, and communities and nations are enriched by diversity. We need each other to make us better. We ignore, exclude or marginalize any group within our community to our peril,” she stated.
    In his remarks, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Noel Donaldson, disclosed that within the next three weeks, work would commence on sidewalks in Montego Bay to make them more accessible for persons, who are physically challenged.
    “We recognize that not withstanding World Cup Cricket 2007, as a country and as a city, we have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that we are more inclusive in terms of how we treat our citizens and our visitors alike,” he stated.

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