Jamaica as a tourist destination will be the featured country at this year’s annual Houston International Festival, Houston, Texas, starting next Saturday (Apr. 22).
The event is coordinated by Houston Festival Foundation, Incorporated partnering with The Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, Houston Protocol Alliance, the Mayor’s Office, local chambers of commerce and participating Consular Corps.
The Houston Festival Foundation was established in 1971 to celebrated Houston’s role as an international city. Since 1988, a different country or region became the primary focus because of the increasing awareness of the growing diverse population in the fourth largest city in the USA which also has a fast growing Jamaican population.
This year, Jamaica was selected as the featured destination with a slew of activities celebrating the country’s rich arts and cultural heritage during the week which ends on Sunday (April 30).
Jamaica Tourist Board will throw the spotlight on the island exhibiting prime tourist attractions. JAMPRO will also host an investment seminar showcasing Jamaica as a prime destination for trade and investment opportunities.
A friendly cricket match will be played between the local Jamaican Houston and the local Indian Houston teams.
Promotions for the World Cup Cricket 2007 will also be highlighted at the event.
This year’s festival will continue to heighten awareness on Jamaica in a positive way, according to Jamaica Tourist Board’s media manager, Ms. Diana Willis.
Several Jamaican performing artists have been invited to participate in the annual festival, some of who are the ASHE group, the Blue Glades Mento Band and A.J. Brown along with international reggae artists Morgan Heritage, the Skatalites, Burning Spear and Stephen Marley.
With the global awareness of the Festival, the event has also included education as part of the planning agenda with the Festival being a feature on the teacher’s curriculum guide throughout schools in the City.
In this regard, an information booklet “2006 Teachers’ Curriculum Guide, Houston International Festival, Jamaica – featured destination” has been printed and distributed in schools by the Houston planning committee. Students get an opportunity to learn about the featured region from November until the annual Festival date under the direction of the teacher’s curriculum guide. They also participate in field trips, educational contests and scholarship programs all celebrating diversity.
Several Jamaican government officials and agencies are expected to participate in the event. These include former Prime Minister, Hon. P.J. Patterson, Hon. Asamba Aloun, Minister of Tourism,
Senator Colin Campbell, Minister of Information, Senator Delano Franklyn, Minister of State in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dennis Morrison, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Tourist Board and Mr. Paul Pennycooke, Director of the JTB, Miss Jamaica 2005, Miss Terry Garrelle-Griffiths and Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of JAMPRO, along with other staff from the JTB and JAMRO.