JIS News

Chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.), Audrey Marks-Dunstan, has encouraged players in the industry to work hard to improve the local product, particularly those doing business along the country’s unspoilt south coast.
“On the drive down here to St. Elizabeth, I could not help but reflect on the natural wealth that we as a people possess. I saw real and potential wealth in the contours of our beautiful countryside, in the fields and in the small shops and large businesses,” she said.
The Chairman was speaking at the rededication and renaming ceremony for the historic Invercauld Great House in Black River, St. Elizabeth.
Mrs. Marks-Dunstan noted that the tourist offerings along the south coast were very diverse.
“This region is rich in natural and historic sites and contains some of the island’s most important eco-systems. These will make this area a growing force in the tourism sector and a centrepiece of our efforts to diversify our offerings,” she said.
The Chairman mentioned a new programme that her organisation would be launching. “Next Tuesday we will launch an entrepreneurship campaign using tourism as a tool to unlock the innate spirit of Jamaicans. The programme will seek to encourage citizens with ideas for tourism development to come forward for assistance with the development of those ideas, and to be connected with possible sources for funding,” she explained.
“Jamaica needs the south coast to play an integral part in this drive as ideas are needed from this part of the country,” she added.
Turning to the long term development of the tourism sector, Mrs. Marks-Dunstan highlighted the efforts of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and to implement a “special plan”.
“The Tourism Master Plan is a 10-year strategic plan, which outlines measures to improve, diversify and market tourism to strengthen the country’s competitive advantage, while spreading the benefits to more Jamaicans. The plan identifies cultural heritage and community based tourism as areas to be fully explored in the country’s push to cater to a wider demographic of tourists, thereby increasing our market share and visitor spending,” she said.
Mrs. Marks-Dunstan warned of some possible dangers that persons engaged in the industry should always bear in mind, given the very “fragile nature” of the sector.
“In urging persons to prepare to take advantage of new investment opportunities to provide added value to the sector, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of continuously improving your operations to ensure a high quality product. International benchmarking is now a part of the competitive global tourism market and as such, quality must be our hallmark. Anywhere in Jamaica a guest visits, he or she must feel safe, secure and know that their health and well-being are being taken into consideration,” she emphasised.
The new name of Invercauld, which is over 100 years old, is the Grand Invercauld Great House and Hotel.

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