JIS News

Today’s traveller is looking for a complete holiday experience that showcases the culture, history and heritage of a people, said Director of Tourism, Paul Pennicook.
He noted that the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) ‘Meet-the-People’ programme, offered the opportunity to sell Jamaica as a destination, which offered more than just sea, sun and sand. “There’s no better way to sell Jamaica or for a visitor to understand and learn more about our country and our people than through this programme”, he stated.
Mr. Pennicook, who was speaking at the re launch of the programme recently at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston, explained that the effort was to place focus on a programme, which offered so much of what travelers were looking for in an inclusive and hospitable destination.
He reminded that the aim of the campaign was to allow visitors to experience everyday Jamaican life and as such, volunteers were not expected to host large parties for numerous visitors, as an invitation to dinner or a tour would suffice.
Originally introduced in the 1970s, the programme has enabled thousands of visitors to the island to enjoy the true Jamaican hospitality offered to them by locals, who volunteer time and effort to entertain the visitors, often taking them into their homes.
“We were struck by the polite willingness to help, as everyone seems to offer us while on our trip and the graciousness with which we were treated everywhere we went. You can tell Jamaicans truly care about their visitors. Many of us exchanged cards, so we could keep in touch”, wrote visitor to the island, Susan Bardisa in a testimonial to the JTB.
Visitors wishing to participate in the programme can visit the JTB website at meetthepeople@visitjamaica.com or by contacting the nearest office of the JTB on arrival in the island and providing a biodata, as well as length of stay and place of residence in the island.
‘Forget Me Not’, the beautiful wild flower that grows in the cooler areas of Jamaica in colours of white, pink or blue, was adopted by the JTB in 1976 as the symbol of the ‘Meet-The-People’ programme because of the significance of its name, reinforcing the people-to-people contact, after which each can truly say to the other: “It was a wonderful time of togetherness. Forget Me Not”.

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