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JIS News

Jamaica as a tourist destination will be the featured country at this year’s annual Houston International Festival, in Houston, Texas, beginning on Saturday April 22.
The event is being coordinated by the Houston Festival Foundation Incorporated in partnership with the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, the Houston Protocol Alliance, the Mayor’s office, local chambers of commerce and participating consular corps.
The Houston Festival Foundation was established in 1971 to celebrate Houston’s role as an international city. Since 1988, a different country or region became the primary focus because of the increasing awareness of the growing diverse population in the fourth largest city in the United States, which also has a fast growing Jamaican population.
This year, Jamaica was selected as the featured destination with a slew of activities celebrating the country’s rich arts and cultural heritage during the week ending April 30.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) will throw the spotlight on the island exhibiting prime tourist attractions. The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will also host an investment seminar showcasing the island as a prime destination for trade and investment opportunities.
A friendly cricket match will be played between the local Jamaican Houston and the local Indian Houston teams.
Promotions for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will also be highlighted at the event. This year’s festival will continue to heighten awareness about the island in a positive way, according to JTB’s Media Manager, Diana Willis.
Several Jamaican performers and performing groups have been invited to participate in the annual festival. These include the ASHE Ensemble, the Blue Glades Mento Band, and cabaret singer A.J. Brown along with international reggae acts Morgan Heritage, the Skatalites, Burning Spear and Stephen Marley.
With the global awareness of the Festival, the event has also included education as part of the planning agenda with the Festival being a feature on the teacher’s curriculum guide throughout schools in the city.
In this regard, an information booklet “2006 Teachers’ Curriculum Guide, Houston International Festival, Jamaica – featured destination” has been printed and distributed in schools by the Houston planning committee. Students will get an opportunity to learn about the featured region from November until the annual festival date under the direction of the guide. They will also participate in field trips, educational contests and scholarship programmes all of which celebrates diversity.
Several Jamaican government officials and agencies are expected to participate in the event. These include former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Ndombet Assamba; Minister of Information and Development, Senator Colin Campbell; State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn; Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Denis Morrison; Director of the JTB, Paul Pennycooke; Miss Jamaica 2005, Terry Garrelle-Griffiths, and President of JAMPRO, Patricia Francis, along with other members of staff of the JTB and JAMPRO.