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  • United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, said Jamaica stands to gain a lot of exposure and benefits from the Blue and John Crow Mountains being inscribed to the prestigious World Heritage List.
  • He said the significance of this international recognition should not be downplayed or trivialised and, if handled properly, could significantly boost industries such as tourism.
  • The UN Resident Coordinator pointed out that countries inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage List “almost always get” extra media attention in addition to seeing a boost in their tourism numbers.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, said Jamaica stands to gain a lot of exposure and benefits from the Blue and John Crow Mountains being inscribed to the prestigious World Heritage List.

He said the significance of this international recognition should not be downplayed or trivialised and, if handled properly, could significantly boost industries such as tourism.

“It is indeed a big deal,” he noted. “This designation carries a lot of weight and there could be both tangible and intangible benefits,” he added.

Mr. Pouezat was speaking at the Cluster Meeting for the Caribbean National Commissions for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday (October 26), at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Rose Hall, St. James.

The UN Resident Coordinator pointed out that countries inscribed to UNESCO’s World Heritage List “almost always get” extra media attention in addition to seeing a boost in their tourism numbers.

He added that the publicity also brings much-needed help to poorer countries to conserve places of universal value.

“Countries, which have had their monuments designated as World Heritage Sites, simply have to plan properly and try to capitalise on the opportunities that will obviously present themselves,” Mr. Pouezat said.

“Heritage tourism is very big worldwide and we all know Jamaica has a rich cultural history. If this is marketed properly, the benefits could be huge,” he noted further.

The Blue and John Crow Mountains inscription to the World Heritage List is a first for Jamaica. The area is also the first mixed site (having cultural and natural value) in the Caribbean region, and is one of only 32 such sites worldwide.

Jamaica’s Secretary General for the National Commission for UNESCO, Everton Hannam, informed that there are plans in place to take advantage of the benefits to come from the international designation.

“We have already started a process in anticipation of an increased interest in the area. There is a team in place and also opportunities for persons to be trained as tour guides. We are also looking at the possibility of cabins…of preparing for a different kind of tourism,” he said.

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat, addresses the Cluster Meeting for the Caribbean National Commissions for UNESCO, at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Rosehall, St. James on Monday, October 26 .

Mr. Hannam said Jamaica will continue to receive guidance from UNESCO as it relates to preserving and sustaining the natural qualities of the region, which is an area of national and universal importance.

He informed that no concrete structures or farming will be allowed in the Blue and John Crow Mountains and there will be strict monitoring of the area.

Former Chairman of the Port Antonio Resort Board, Marcia Lawrence, said the parish of Portland has already started preparations for what they feel will be an imminent boost to tourism in the parish.

“The fact that they have been given this important designation means that us Portlanders have to now step up to the plate to capitalise on all this positive publicity,” she said.

The Blue and John Crow Mountains span sections of the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and Portland.

It is the largest contiguous area of natural forest in Jamaica, protecting 193 acres of forest on mountain slopes, comprising 10 watershed management units spanning four parishes.

The area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, being home to the Maroons, whose traditions are recognised by UNESCO as masterpieces of world culture.