Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Gov't urged to use culture, events to attract tourists

Published:Sunday | February 26, 2017 | 2:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Kern Spencer
Patrons led by DJ Dixie Flex (left) raised their party cups during a previous staging of BritJam.
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Former Member of Parliament and CEO of BOJ TV Kern Spencer is asking the Government of Jamaica to consider using music and events to attract more tourists.

According to Spencer, sand and sea are not unique to Jamaica, since islands like Barbados and The Bahamas are also known for this natural beauty.

"We have to differentiate between attractors and attractions. Attractors are what I say bring the tourists to Jamaica, and attractions are what they do when they get here. For decades, we have been promoting Jamaica as sand, sun and sea. But the truth is that Barbados has some of the most beautiful beaches and they also have sand and sea. Every single Caribbean country has sea, sand and sun," he said.

The former minister believes what sets Jamaica apart from the rest is its culture. He, therefore wants Jamaica to follow Trinidad's format since the island has managed to use its carnival culture to boost tourism during the carnival season.

"We have been promoting and spending millions on attractions when the truth is that Tyga and Khloe Kardashian didn't come here to climb Dunn's River Falls specifically, and we have spent millions promoting these places. We are yet to identify our attractors and start promoting those," he said.

 

Miles ahead

 

Spencer believes the island is miles ahead of other Caribbean islands in the field of entertainment and sports, but are evenly matched as it relates to beauty. Therefore, the focus should be directed towards promoting sports and entertainment as a means of pulling visitors to the island.

"I believe Jamaica has been specifically blessed to be able to create cultural products better than the rest. Those are some of the reasons why people are coming to Jamaica. They want to feel the culture of Usain Bolt and Bob Marley," he said.

Spencer, who was also guest speaker at the recent Brit Jam launch, believes events of this nature can be used as the channels to pull tourists to the island, then direct them to the attractions, instead of solely relying on attractions to be attractors.

Dream Weekend promoter Ron Burke shares a similar view. He told The Sunday Gleaner that his team proved that Jamaican events are powerful mediums of attracting tourists as the annual event consistently pulls thousands of foreigners to the island.

He also has his eyes set on pulling tourists to Kingston through the Magnum Live stage show that was held at Sabina Park in Kingston earlier this year.

"There are shows in rural areas and there are shows in Europe, and we need shows in Kingston. People tend to think that live shows won't work in Kingston, and we have proved that wrong ... . We proved, with Dream Weekend, that entertainment can pull tourists to Jamaica, and we will prove it again with this event in Kingston. Jamaica can be a lucrative event-tourism destination in the same manner that it has reaped success with the sun, sand, and sea," Burke said.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com