Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
Heritage Tourism Boost Anticipated from UNESCO's Listing of Blue & John Crow Mountains
Montes Azules y de John Crow. Foto: Fotógrafo del Jamaican Information Service (JIS)
6 July 2015/ Jamaican Information Service

Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says the inscription of Jamaica's renowned Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) prestigious World Heritage List (WHL) is expected to further boost the country's heritage tourism product offerings.

The inscription, which is Jamaica's first site listing, was formally announced on July 3, by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, following a unanimous decision by the 21-member panel, during its 39th Session, currently underway in Bonn, Germany.

Speaking with JIS News, Ms. Hanna said, who headed Jamaica's delegation to the meeting, said the National Park's inscription will serve to enhance the country's tourism product, "because we can really branch out more into heritage tourism."

"We can now make sure that, at the end of the day, people actually understand what makes us truly Jamaican," she added.

Ms. Hanna also underscored the value and importance of the Park's heritage site designation, pointing out that this will open up the prospects for significant benefits accruing to citizens of communities in Portland and St Thomas, where significant sections of the Park are situated.

She said heightened appreciation and understanding of the Maroons, some of who reside in that region, is also anticipated, adding that their presence there has served to significantly heighten to the Park's prominence on the mixed (cultural and natural) site of the WHL.

The Minister contended that other countries "will be able to… see the value of really… who we are as a people."

Ms. Hanna praised the Government Ministries, agencies, and organizations which provided support for the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park's nomination, and the delegation that travelled to Germany.

They included: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and its Embassies in Belgium and Germany; Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF); Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT); Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC); Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), and its affiliates in Germany; Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); and the Jamaica chapter of the World Heritage Committee.

Jamaica's Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is currently one of 32 mixed sites included on the World Heritage List, and the first for the Caribbean sub-region.

The Park now joins notable iconic sites, such as: the Great Wall of China; the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt; the Taj Mahal of India; the Acropolis of Athens, Greece; the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and St. Lucia’s volcanic Gros and Petit Piton mountains, to be accorded World Heritage status by UNESCO.

World Heritage status is given to natural and cultural sites, globally, which are deemed to be of outstanding universal value.

This, by virtue of possessing what may be regarded as cultural and natural significance, considered to be exceptional to the point of transcending national boundaries, and of common importance for current and future generations.

Importantly, elements of authenticity and integrity, associated with the sites, must be demonstrated in the nomination process.

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