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Community Tourism App coming for August Town

Published:Friday | September 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Mona School of Business and Management, (MSBM), is set to launch a new mobile application aimed at boosting community tourism in August Town located in Kingston.

The app was launched simultaneously with a tour on August 31, during the 178th anniversary celebration of the establishment of August Town. The tour began at Judgement Yard - home of Reggae recording artiste Sizzla Kalonji, moving on to Church Yard and ending at the Bedward Spring. The event put heavy focus on an Artisans Village featuring cuisine and craft from members of the August Town community.

According to MSBM, the tour highlighted opportunities for community tourism in August Town which includes economic activity stimulating employment and business creation.

MSBM lecturer in tourism Management, Dr Michelle McLeod says the tour and app launch are by-products of the Interactive Community Mapping (ICM) project using OpenStreetMap. This ICM project involved the mapping of historical, cultural, natural and economic resources that are present in the August Town community.

She noted, "the potential and rich historical heritage highlighted by the tour led to several meetings with the Ministry of Tourism and its affiliate agencies including the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo). The tour product was then developed".

Dr Maurice McNaughton, director of the centre of excellence for IT-enabled Innovation at the MSBM, UWI, says the launch of the app comes at a time when the traditional tourism industry is changing.

"Recent developments point to a growing emergence of a new type of tourist and tourism market relationship that seems to move away from the large all-inclusive hotel chains to tourist-community interaction, exploration and exchange. Community-based tourism offers a promising response to this market shift, and seeks to empower local communities as sustainable ecosystems. It is a key component of Jamaica's tourism master plan and current efforts to diversify the tourism product," he said.

August Town was chosen as the pilot community for MSBM's interactive community mapping project because of its close proximity to the Mona Campus and also its membership in the university township outreach project.

Dr McNaughton notes that August Town has huge potential as it is well known for its rich heritage and cultural history, including being the historical base for Alexander Bedward, founder of Bedwardism, one of Jamaica's prominent revivalist movements in the early 1900s. Well known Reggae artistes Sizzla and Etana have also maintained their creative bases in August Town and the recent August Town film project has created the rapidly growing film festival."