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JIS News

The first annual symposium on ‘Sustainable Tourism, Attractions, Heritage and Heritage Restoration’, was held at the Runaway HEART Hotel, in St. Ann, on May 27.
The forum, which was organised by the HEART Trust/NTA, was held under the theme: ‘Securing our Future by Preserving our Past’.
Director in the Institutional Based Department (IBD) at the HEART Trust, Samuel Brown. told JIS News that the symposium was important at this time, because in seeking to strengthen the tourism product, “we recognise that we need to go beyond the whole matter of sun, sea and sand, to go beyond the whole matter of mass tourism, and to get the tourists involved within our communities.”
“We need to get a buy-in from all of the stakeholders in this country, so that they recognise that it is not just a matter of tourism, but it is a matter of sustainable development,” he added.
Mr. Brown pointed out that the HEART Trust was in the process of repositioning their training institutions, so as to be on a forward move to achieve positive results in helping to build the tourism sector.
“We will be linking our Runaway Bay HEART Hotel and Training Institute with our Kenilworth Academy, which is a heritage site, and Seaford Town Vocational Training Centre, which is another heritage site, with Ebony Park HEART Academy, which is being developed as an attraction and we will be developing products and services that will speak to sustainable tourism and will make the experience of those who come to Jamaica, one that they will never forget,” the Director said.
He explained that the symposium was designed to give participants a better understanding of attractions and heritage and how they could address existing issues concerning them.
Mr. Brown encouraged participants to grasp all they could from the symposium, so that they could play their roles effectively in helping to move the Jamaican tourism sector forward.
“The HEART Trust/NTA, as the national training agency of the Government, knows it has a critical role to play. Our mandate is to ensure that the country has the skilled persons that it needs to drive development, and be it for the hospitality sector, agricultural sector, construction sector or whichever sector, we are prepared to carry out the mandate that we have been entrusted with to ensure that it happens,” he said.
Meanwhile, Career Development Officer at the Buff Bay HEART Academy, in Portland, Shauna-Kay Edwards, told JIS News that the symposium was very informative and enlightening.
“We are having some developments in the Buff Bay Valley and I hope that what I get here today can assist us, as an institution, to format our training programmes, so as to assist us in heritage tourism and offer some programmes that will go in sync with the developments in the Buff Bay Valley area,” Miss Edwards said.