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Historical Site For Heritage Tourism Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 2160 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Team Jamaica Handbook, 2006 defines tourist as any person who visits a country or place for more than twenty-four (24) hours but less than a year for a variety of reasons other than employment. One of the most popular attractions for tourist activities on vacation is visiting historical and culture sites. According to the tourism technical report (1998), Since the 90’s Heritage Tourism has been the growth segments of the industry, given the country’s rich history and culture. Jamaica has attracted quite a large number of persons, both locally and internationally. It has become apparent that there has been a growing interest in historical and cultural aspects of Jamaica’s life among visitors who travel to our country.

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(Chang 1997) has defined Heritage tourism as the phenomenon in which the cultural, historical and ethnic components of society or places are harnessed as resources to attract tourists, as well as develop a leisure and tourism industry. While, the national trust defines it as a traveling experience, the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes historic, cultural and natural resources. As a result, the whole aspect of heritage tourism can be categorized into several facets called themes as laid out in the 2002 Tourism Master Plan. These includes natural wonders, slavery and emancipation, churches, great houses, maroons, Pre-Columbian Jamaica, forts and fortications and popular customs such as music, dance, dress and language. The case study focuses on the parish of St. Catherine being restored and promoted as a historic site for heritage tourism.

Jamaica has been promoted as the island for sun, sea, sand and winter get-away for a number of years. It is where tourists come to frolic and take part in recreational activities. Jamaica consists of fourteen parishes, with St. Catherine been one of its parishes nestled between Clarendon and St. Andrew/Kingston. This Parish was the first area to hold the first capital, Spanish Town, of Jamaica. Hence, this parish holds tremendous sentimental and valuable rich culture that has nourished and molded Jamaica.

Heritage Tourism is important as the development of assets is the key to sustainable development as it ensures that the product reflects the culture and aspirations of the Jamaican people. In restoring and promoting heritage tourism, it can become a tedious process so it is essential to promote our cultural remnant and customs that will attract heritage visitors. Through this process, it will be able to do more for local economies by providing jobs, promoting community pride and the structure for new business. Thus, the parish of St. Catherine has been neglected for long while and should be taken into consideration for restoration.

Statement of Problem

The parish of St. Catherine holds many historical sites which has not been restored and promoted. This research to be carried asserts that Heritage Tourism in St. Catherine has been in decline for a number of years. This has been the case because of the less attention being given to it by tourism managers in the area. Robert Bateman quotes that “we need to look back at our wonderful, natural and human heritage, and cherish and protect the abundant values to be found there. We need to look out to the sides and see other parts of the world that need our help and can provide good ideas to go forward….we need too look ahead to be certain that our actions of today will make the world a better and richer and more varied place for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.” This goes to show that conserving one’s heritage is a growing concern that the Tourism Product Development Company has been placing further emphasis on development of Heritage Tourism and to widen the market for Eco-Nature and Adventure Tourism. Heritage Tourism seems to be one of the many options to enlarge St. Catherine’s product base as well as enhancing Jamaican’s understanding of their identity and preserving their valuable heritage.

1.2.1 Background to Research Problem

The Tourism industry in Jamaica has been in full effect for years being one of the most anticipated places for tourists. In fact, tourism started to blossom in Jamaica after World War I when improved methods of transporting people to the island were established. The visit numbers have risen tremendously over the course from sixty four thousand in 1938 to One Million Six Hundred and Sixteen thousand Four Hundred and Thirty in 1993. This confirms that tourists are drawn to our island for what it has to offer. The major tourist sites are mostly on the north coast where people visit for the pleasant weather, white sandy beaches and resorts. These areas are mostly limited to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and Port Antonio while the parish of St. Catherine is used as a commercial centre next to Kingston which in turn holds a few numbers of visits for tourism appreciation.

St. Catherine therefore needs a boost to sustain the heritage facets of tourism services. Due to the lack of many amenities to partake in, the deep roots of our heritage in St. Catherine may provide means of satisfying the Jamaican economy and the people who visit. All parts of this parish holds substantial cultural significance since it was the first home of Jamaica’s capital, Spanish Town in 1534 and the home of the British Governor of the Island in that year. Most of St. Catherine’s heritage is held in the small town of Spanish Town holding the Parish Council, Supreme Court and House of Assembly. In 2011 an article was published criticizing Edmund Bartlett for not developing Spanish Town into a tourist destination. Then Mayor of Spanish Town and chairman of the St. Catherine Parish Council argued that the old capital should be restored and developed as a tourist mecca because Mr. Bartlett did not respond to his letter, thus emphasizing that he was not concerned with appreciating the true value of heritage tourism which contributes to eighty percent (80%) of tourism worldwide.

In St. Catherine, there are various heritage facilities that will cater to the needs of tourist wanting to experience more of the heritage and a culture exchange. Some of these sites includes: bridges such as Flat Bridge, Old Iron Cast bridge, public buildings-Kings House, Military Structures-Barracks, Museums-People’s Museum of Craft and Technology, monuments-Rodney Memorial, Churches-Phillipo Baptist, and forts-Fort Augusta and Fort Small. This comes to show that there are over twenty (20) buildings and area of interest that could be categorized as heritage sites. If St. Catherine is marketed properly it may attract hundreds of tourist to the parish.

1.3 Limitations to study

` The research is limited to the parish of St. Catherine, to residents and persons who have visited the area. The Jamaica Tourist Board along with the Tourism Product Development Company will also be used as they are responsible for developing, restoring and promoting cultural heritage in Jamaica.

1.4 Purpose of Study

The aim of this research is to see how St. Catherine can be restored and promoted as a historical site for Heritage Tourism. The parish of St. Catherine which is located on the southern coast of Jamaica was chosen because it plays an integral role in our history. St. Catherine holds the first capital of our island, Spanish Town. The research is a source of information that lays out the current areas and applications to be carried out to make St. Catherine a travelled tourism destination for Heritage Tourism. They will be able to integrate and recognize different historical issues in the parish and determine various ways of making St. Catherine a diversified area for the tourism industry. Weiler and Hall has opined that culture, heritage and the arts have long been one of the appeal factors of tourists’ destinations and culture has been rediscovered as an important tool to attract the travelers with special interests in heritage. This statement justify that, persons will be impacted such as residents of St. Catherine, tourists and other visitors. Not only negatively through restoration but positively through fostering job opportunities, attracting visitors interested in history and preservation and diversifying the local economy.

1.5 Significance of Study

The proposed research will determine ways on restoring and promoting St. Catherine as a destination for Heritage Tourism. The researcher hopes that the result of this study, the government will develop strategic measures to instill this area so it is preserved and protected. Since the parish has been neglected as far as the year 2009, the tourism body consisting of Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica National Heritage Trust, Jamaica Tourist Board and Tourism Product Development Company should put in place comprehensive and well conceived polices in order to encourage the restoration of the historical assets that each company constitutes. St. Catherine has the prospective to become a Heritage Tourism destination because of its distinct historical and cultural heritage and can provide visitors with unique experiences. Thus the significances should not be ignored but addressed to maintain the value of tourism in Jamaica.

1.6 Definition of Terms

Tourist: Is any person who visits a country or place for more than twenty-four (24) hours but less than a year for a variety of reasons other than employment such as recreation, leisure, holiday, business, family and friends, or meeting. (Team Jamaica Handbook, 2006)

Restoration: According to the Tourism Glossary (gdrc.org), restoration is returning existing habitats to a known past state, or to an approximation of the natural condition through repairing, degradation and removing introduced species.

Promotion: All the activities in producing and increasing sales, including advertising, publicity and personal selling or the activities that supplements and makes more effective advertising and personal selling. Special events individually treated to bring public attention to specific products (Bhatia). As applied to the tourism industry, the most important function of marketing is to bring about an awareness of the product in the minds of existing as well as prospective consumers in the overall market area (Khan, 2005).

Heritage Tourism: This is the phenomenon in which the cultural, historical and ethnic components of society or places are harnessed as resources to attract tourists, as well as develop a leisure and tourism industry. (Chang, 1997)

1.7 Research Questions/Hypotheses

This research was premeditated and carried out to study three main research questions that will help St. Catherine become flourishing through restoration and promotion. They are:

What is the present status of Heritage Tourism in St. Catherine?

How can Heritage Tourism be restored in St. Catherine?

How can Heritage Tourism be promoted in St. Catherine?

1.7.1 Hypotheses:

St. Catherine, Jamaica can be restored and promoted as a historical site for Heritage Tourism.

1.8 Chapter Summary

This chapter recaps the problems being faced of not using St. Catherine as a heritage site for Jamaica as well as the importance of the researcher’s topic and how it will affect persons such as the residents and tourists in St. Catherine. It gives a general overview of heritage tourism in Jamaica and St. Catherine along with various citations from persons who have said something about the issue of Heritage tourism and an understanding of different terms used throughout the introduction.

1.9 Thesis Overview

The research is divided into five sections called chapters which are prearranged in the following way.

The first section is an overall overview of the topic chosen including the introduction, statement of problem, background to research problem, limitations to study, purpose of study, Significance of Study, Research Questions/Hypotheses, and Definition of Terms.

The second part holds an extensive description of St. Catherine as a heritage site. It also gives a brief story of the area of study and the major historical sites it holds, and the different practices taken to involve restoring and promoting heritage tourism as it relates to the research topics, questions and problems.

The third section of the research examines the type of instrument used for the methodology to obtain information.

Section four presents the findings, analysis and confers the results gathered from all findings.

Lastly, section five draws the conclusion and presents recommendations and probable approaches to the topic.


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