Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism has been working to develop a new form of tourism known as faith-based or Christian-based tourism. Last year, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett commissioned a faith-based committee, headed by Reverend Al Miller and Bishop Herro Blair, to examine and explore the possibilities of this form of tourism. Miller said the faith-based tourism operations committee has been meeting regularly to develop strategies and marketing plans to target other churches in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada. “It’s a niche market, and it’s a market that we need to plan and prepare for, just as we would any other market,” he said. “You have to make the faith-based community be aware of Jamaica as a destination.”
Miller said the island is an ideal destination for church retreats, conferences and conventions, as well as family excursions. He pointed to Jamaica’s wide range of historical churches that would interest tourist from around the world. “The community is already here, so we just need to develop the product,” he said. “If we really put more effort in doing so, then we have the potential to bring in a lot more money.” Faith-based tourism is projected to bring in an estimated $1.2 billion annually to the island, and with the right amount of marketing, this figure is expected to increase overtime, according to information out of the committee.
For the complete report, which includes interviews with members of the committee, go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/html/20091010T220000-0500_161501_OBS_JAMAICA_DEVELOPS_FAITH_BASED_TOURISM.asp