MONTEGO BAY — Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Godfrey Dyer, says the Ministry of Tourism is seeking to aggressively tap into Faith-based Tourism as a very lucrative market.
"Jamaica signalled its entry into the faith-based tourism market on June 1, 2011 when we welcomed the Carnival Destiny Cruise Ship in Montego Bay with over 3,000 Christians aboard,” he noted.
Mr. Dyer was speaking at the opening of the Adventist-Laypersons Services and Industries (ASI) 11th International Convention on August 17, in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Deputising for Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, the Chairman said that following on the heels of the successful inaugural launch in the market, the Ministry of Tourism takes great pride in welcoming this mega faith-based event.
"Your presence here in Jamaica is a further testimony to the fact that our beautiful country is an attractive destination for members of this market and that Jamaica will be an active player in faith-based tourism,” he said.
Mr. Dyer pointed out that the potential benefits from faith-based Tourism are huge, as all sectors of the economy stand to gain – the hotels, tour operators, farmers, craft traders, and ground transport operators.
"In light of the fact that most destinations are now basically offering the same product, it is becoming quite difficult to differentiate one destination from another. Diversification is important because today's traveller is demanding more authentic experiences. The reality is that not all tourists are interested in sun, sea and sand. Some want to visit an untouched authentic location in the cool climes of the Blue Mountain, while others like you, want to visit and spread the gospel,” the Chairman said.
The aim of the Ministry, he said, is to make Jamaica the choice destination for all visitors, where their expectations will not only be met but surpassed.
"Jamaica welcomes you and this important convention and I hope this event will be mutually beneficial to all involved,” he said.
The Convention, which is being held under the theme: ‘Messengers of Hope’, is scheduled to end on August 20.
By ALDEEN CAMPBELL, JIS Reporter