Jamaica is poised to expand its tourism product in the areas of health, sports, community and entertainment.
This according to Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill who represented Jamaica at the International Tourism Bourse Berlin travel trade show.
According to the minister, community based tourism in Jamaica was long recognized for its potential to allow for a larger cross-section of the population to get involved in tourism.
“Our plan is to facilitate the communities owning and showcasing their own aspects of our culture, craft, food, history, natural and built environment as an expansion of the tourism product,” he said.
He further noted that the upcoming London Olympics coincided with Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence, for which the country will have a major presence in the United Kingdom.
“Not only is Jamaica seen as the sprint capital of the world, but we are also home to the fastest men on earth,” he said.
He added the Olympic fever was building across the globe, with the name Usain Bolt being one of the first to come to mind.
“In 2009 you experienced the fever Bolt crated at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Well it’s only gotten bigger because Bolt was adding to Jamaica’s past Olympians and world record holders. …Today the list goes on and on with Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake and Veronica Campbell-Brown,” McNeill said.
He added those names would be used to build the Jamaican tourism brand and market the country as a destination.
The minister said his ministry, jointly with ministries responsible for sports, culture and promotions were working together to take advantage of the entertainment and sporting elements to position Jamaica as a world leading, world class destination for travel and entertainment.
However, having adequate airlift will be an important part of the process. The minister stated that it was government’s intention to continue looking to increase airlift from the country’s primary source markets of the USA, UK and Europe, mainly Germany and Italy, while still pursuing new discussions with Russia.