Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri December 18 2015

Jamaica Tourism Officials Seek To Emphasize Musical Legacy

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | December 18, 2015

Jamaica Tourism Officials Seek To Emphasize Musical Legacy

PHOTO: Damion Crawford, Jamaica’s state minister for entertainment and tourism. (Photo by Brian Major).

Travelers to Jamaica have long been drawn by the island’s distinctive musical legacy. Now Jamaica Tourism authorities earlier this month lobbied the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to designate the capital city of Kingston as a UNESCO Creative City.

Jamaica’s lobbying effort coincided with UNESCO’s 2015 World Creative City Forum held earlier this month in Hamamatsu, Japan. Creative City designation would generate grant funding for selected projects to develop Kingston’s creative sector, said Damion Crawford, state minister for entertainment and tourism.

Emphasizing Jamaica’s brand as an entertainment destination will help reduce the country’s seasonal tourist arrival swings, said Crawford. “The designation as a Creative City also leads to exposure, and consciousness leads to consumption,” said Crawford in a interview.

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with, and among, cities that have “identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.” The Network offers opportunities for cities to “draw on peer-learning processes and collaborative projects in order to fully capitalize on their creative assets and use this as a basis for building sustainable, inclusive and balanced development in economic, cultural, environmental and social terms, according to UNESCO officials.

The Network consists of 69 members from 32 countries covering the creative fields of crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music and media arts.

The UNESCO designation would enhance other steps Jamaican tourism officials have recently undertaken to emphasize the country’s musical attractions. Earlier this month Crawford said the ministry of tourism and entertainment’s National Entertainment Registry, designed to provide a central listing for Jamaican entertainment services and companies, currently lists 351 practitioners and 45 companies. Established in August of 2014, the registry will be available online within the next two months, said Crawford.

He said the registry will “legitimize” Jamaica’s entertainment industry by maximizing its economic impact while improving “efficiency and transparency” within the segment.

Jamaica’s government would soon require all event promoters be registered, a move that will facilitate a rating system for entertainment events approved by Jamaica’s cabinet in July, said Crawford. He added that the rating system will also create opportunities for commercial sponsorship.

Kingston’s Palisadoes district was recently approved by Jamaica’s National Environment and Planning Agency for designation as Jamaica’s first entertainment zone, said Crawford. He said Palisadoes is one of seven areas of Kingston tested and declared suitable to host recreational and heritage activities.

The entertainment zones will host public entertainment events under restrictions that prescribe their duration and “prevent breaches of the night noise act,” said tourism officials.

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