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Point of Interest
Wykeham McNeil

Ministry to observe Tourism Awareness Week

As the tourism sector continues to experience steady growth, the Ministry of Tourism & Entertainment and its agencies will seek to raise awareness of the vital contribution that the sector makes to Jamaica's social and economic development during Tourism Awareness Week 2014.

The extended week, which promises a full roster of activities, will be observed from September 21 to October 1.

The week will incorporate World Tourism Day, which will be recognised on September 27. Tourism Awareness Week 2014 is being held under the theme: Tourism and Community Development, which is consistent with the theme selected by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) for World Tourism Day globally.

The theme underscores the potential of tourism to empower people and provide them with the skills and opportunities to achieve change in their communities. In addition, it promotes the role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable tourism development.

Community-based tourism

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill said, "Community-based tourism holds tremendous potential as a means of reducing poverty and expanding employment creation. This is why we are moving as a ministry to introduce a Community-based Tourism Policy." He added that, "I am therefore very pleased that this year's Tourism Awareness Week theme provides the opportunity to highlight the tremendous value that tourism adds to the achievement of economic, social and environmental well-being at both the national and the community levels."

Tourism Awareness Week kicks off with Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX 2014), which will be held from September 21-23, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The three-day trade show is the single most important business generator for the island's tourism product, and brings together travel wholesalers and tour operators from Europe and the Americas with Jamaica's leading tourism suppliers to conduct business negotiations.

On the heels of JAPEX will be the mounting of an exhibition in recognition of the late Clive Taffe in Kingston on September 25. Taffe, who passed away earlier this year, worked with the Jamaica Tourist Board for over 50 years. The exhibition will honour his memory and his many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.

Additionally, as director of tourism, Paul Pennicook explained, "We are partnering with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and the Social Development Commission on this important initiative. The various chapters of the JHTA will be hosting activities in observance of the week. For instance, children and teachers will be taken on visits to hotels, villas, and attractions, while JHTA members will visit schools to make special presentations on the theme."

He said, "An essay competition is also being organised for primary and high-school students on aspects of the theme for the week. A seminar is also being planned for representatives from community groups that are involved in community-tourism projects, as well as a visit to an infirmary."

On World Tourism Day, the ministry and its agencies will host a Community Tourism Fun Day, which will be held at the Milk River Hotel and Spa in Clarendon. A Tourism Awareness Week Church Service will be held at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church on September 28, and Tourism Awareness Week 2014 will culminate on October 1 with a Community Tourism Familiarisation Tour in the Cockpit Country. 

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