JIS News

The Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) has received US$30,000 from the UN Global Environment Facility Fund to promote tourism in the Portland Bight area, which encompasses most of plains of South Clarendon, and Hellshire in St. Catherine.
Since 1999 the National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) created the zone as a Protected Area, and in 2004 it delegated management of the area to C-CAM. The group is currently meeting with state development agencies, financiers, and community groups to finalize the tourism plans which it said is a community driven venture.
Executive Director of C-CAM, Ingrid Parchment, told a workshop at Salt River in the parish on May 27 that when the project is up and running it will give the communities involved a new image and provide jobs for residents.
“What we will see is the restaurants in the area being expanded and new ones built to accommodate the visitors. It is going to be community tourism, so persons will be able to open their homes to entertain guests and make money from doing so,” Ms. Parchment informed.
She noted that a lot of attractions are in the area which is under-utilized, and the group will seek to have increased activities at these sites, “In this area we have the St. Peters Anglican Church, which is the third oldest remaining church in Jamaica, the Halse Hall Great House, Bog Sugar Estate, the Connue Valley and Salt River. Tourist and local visitors use these monuments as sight seeing and with the work that we are embarking on they will be marketed as places of amusement and enjoyment.”
TC-CAM plans to train fishers as tour guides and interpreters, manage wild life in the area, and build feeding areas and nest boxes for selected birds. Eventually the group hopes to establish Rocky Point as an interpretation centre where people can go and learn about wetlands.
Ecologist and consultant to the project, Ann Sutton, told JIS News that the type of tourism being promoted is aimed at using the natural resources to empower the people who reside in the area.
“This type of tourism is not the type which is owned by big business, the citizens in the area will own it. What we will be doing is manage the uncapped potential which exists there in the historical sites. Right there you have the West Indian Whistling Duck, they are only found in the Caribbean, and there are two species of snakes that are only found in that area. All these attract interests from all over the world; and we are seeking to put a level of management and promotion in place that will bring prosperity to the people,” Dr. Sutton stated.

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