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Letter of the day: Who needs 'creative' UNESCO label?

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM


It is wonderful news that Kingston has been designated 'a creative city of music' by UNESCO, the result of a strategic partnership between groups such as the Tourism Enhancement Fund, which contributed $3.4 million to support the venture!

But I must play devil's advocate and ask, why do we need an official designation by an international group to promote the creative arts such as music as part of Brand Jamaica?

Isn't it just as effective to market and promote the city as a music capital, as we host major events and festivals featuring some of the big names in the entertainment business in Kingston and other parts?

I think the quality of our talent can speak for itself if we promote culture and arts in tourism to attract more visitors to Jamaica. Why do we have to spend scarce resources to travel to faraway countries like Japan, to apply for a designation? Do we believe that tourists come here based on official designation? They come based on what they see and hear and feel, i.e., how effectively we market and promote the country!

According to the report, "The announcement also follows a recent trip by the ministry's senior director of entertainment, Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel, and Town Clerk Robert Hill to Japan to lobby for the designation to be granted at the UNESCO World Creative City Forum."

To be quite honest, I have never heard of an official list of 'creative cities' list before, and I have travelled to cities for music festivals, exhibitions and the like, based on my own personal interests and tastes.


Foreign approval


Let's not get carried away with these foreign designations and seek foreign approval for everything; very few tourists (if any) will visit solely based on a designation from UNESCO. I can understand more a historical site being designated. But a city designated as creative?

When it comes to tourism, it's how we market and promote the brand and our cities, that can truly tap into our potential. Creativity comes from the heart and soul of our people. It is not exclusive. If we must, we could declare the creative designation ourselves, if we really approve of the quality of creative talent we wish to share with the rest of the world.