Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is seeking to forge tourism links with the African country of Ghana, through the development of the annual Quao Festival into a major tourism event.
  • Speaking to the tourism connection, Dr. McNeill said, "I want to applaud the initiative so far and I think there are some things that we can work on. We are doing a lot of development in Port Antonio and we are really looking at an attraction in the area that is going to broaden this whole initiative".
  • He also suggested that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) be included in the discussions and pointed out that the community should play a critical role in developing the Quao Festival.

Jamaica is seeking to forge tourism links with the African country of Ghana, through the development of the annual Quao Festival into a major tourism event.

“We want to build the Quao Festival into a major heritage tourism attraction. There is clear indication that there is great interest from our African brothers to come to Jamaica to see more and explore the linkages that are here,” said Julian Reynolds, a member of the Kwahuman Association of New York.

He was part of a delegation, led by Michael Essuman of Ghana, who met with Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson and State Minister in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, at Jamaica House yesterday (June 23). The group was in the island for the Quao Festival in Charles Town, Portland.

The four-day event, held between June 19 and 23, is part of the annual celebrations to commemorate the signing of the 1739 Peace Treaty between the British forces and the Windward Maroons, granting the Maroons their freedom and 500 acres (202 hectares) of land.Mr. Reynolds pointed out that the delegation was also interested in facilitating trade links between the two countries.

Speaking to the tourism connection, Dr. McNeill said, “I want to applaud the initiative so far and I think there are some things that we can work on. We are doing a lot of development in Port Antonio and we are really looking at an attraction in the area that is going to broaden this whole initiative”.

He also suggested that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) be included in the discussions and pointed out that the community should play a critical role in developing the Quao Festival.

“In a large part, what we have found is that these things have to come out of the community, if they don’t come out of the community it just doesn’t work,” Dr. McNeill pointed out.He informed that there were a number of financial facilities through which people could access funds for community-based projects, “because we really feel that community based tourism is how we are going to develop our entire project.”

One of these facilities, he informed, was the Tourism Challenge Fund, through which the organisers of the Calabash Festival have been able to access some US$60,000 in financing over a three-year period, for the staging of the annual literary event in St. Elizabeth.

The fund also supports a number of TPDCo initiatives such as the Sustaining Environment and Tourism (SET) programme that offers technical assistance to communities to help them to put together project proposals.