Some eight organizations were recognized by the Ministry of Tourism for the invaluable contribution they have made towards the conservation of Jamaica’s rich biodiversity as part of activities planned for World Tourism Day, September 27, celebrated under the theme “tourism and biodiversity.”
The recipients of the special award are: Sandals Foundation; Windsor Caves; Urban Development Corporation; Forestry Department and Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Sun Venture Tours; Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust and the Institute of Jamaica.
To mark the special day, an exhibition comprising entities which contribute to the preservation of the island’s biodiversity was staged at the University of Technology in the capital city to highlight the importance of biodiversity and its relevance to tourism. Scores of people, especially students from several high schools and the university, braved the heavy rains to view the vibrant and interactive displays.
The activities culminated with an official ceremony at which Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said, “The naturally rich and diverse flora and fauna with which Jamaica has been endowed, along with our equally rich culture and heritage, are the main contributors to Jamaica’s positioning as a world class tourism destination today.”
Minister Bartlett emphasized that more effort was being placed on developments that contribute to a sustainable tourism product where the country’s natural resources are utilized responsibly to ensure continuity.
With more visitors craving greater diversity in the offerings of destinations, he noted that, “Direct interaction with the indigenous people and the culture is what attracts an increasingly larger percentage of our visitors.”
Importantly however, the Tourism Minister said, “We must be reminded of the role we all have to play in conserving and restoring the elements that make up our tourism product.”