- $350 million allocated towards the development of community tourism projects
- 22 communities have applied for consideration and projects are being appraised
- The aim is to develop a more strategic approach to community tourism
The Government has allocated $350 million towards the development of community tourism projects as the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment continues its drive to encourage communities to improve their product and attract more visitors to the island.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Damion Crawford, informed that 22 communities have applied for consideration and projects are being appraised.
Mr. Crawford said the aim is to develop a more strategic approach to community tourism that will position communities as attractions rather than attractors.
He said the country, given its unique cultural and historical offerings, is ripe for such projects, and there is need to take advantage of the opportunity to boost the tourist numbers.
He noted that greater emphasis will be placed on facilitating and encouraging visitors already in the island, to visit communities of interest and to experience firsthand, the way of life of ordinary Jamaicans.
Mr. Crawford said efforts will be made to have dialogue with hoteliers to engage and encourage visitors to enhance their vacation experience by making a trip to a designated community event.
“One thing we’re looking at is a ′meet the people′ day, where once a week, we organise for tourists to visit communities that have salability either through their history, nature or church. I feel that the communities should organise their activities and then have this meet-the-people day where the visitor, on a set day, could come out and meet the people,” he said.
He said it is easier and less expensive for visitors, already here, to visit these communities.
“So persons who are already here might want to visit Trench Town to see where Bob Marley came from. Communities will generate a list and if persons are interested in historical sites they can go look at our churches, if you’re interested in entertainment they can go look at that, if they’re interested in nature, gastronomy, food, they will have a community to go,” he added.