BUFF BAY VALLEY AGRO TOURISM PROJECT - Jamaica
Tourism is synonymous with the Caribbean region to the extent that the Caribbean is recognized as the most tourist dependent region in the world by the World Travel and Tourism Council. In 2008 the tourism and travel sector provided 1 in every 7.8 jobs in the region and accounted for 14.8% of GDP. Yet the region's sector is the smallest in absolute world size among the 13 regions ranked by the WTTC and is projected to register the slowest growth rate in the ten years leading up to 2018.
Strengthening linkages between the tourism and other economic sectors is seen as a key ingredient to sustaining the tourism sector. IICA believes that the agriculture sector has the potential to create new, community and farm-based products and services to freshen, enhance and expand the tourism product offer and to create sustainable livelihoods for the poor in rural communities." With this vision in mind the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Organization of American States (OAS) launched a 3-year initiative in 2005 among 7 Caribbean member countries to strengthen the linkages between the tourism and agriculture sectors. Through a series of activities including consultation and dialogue with key industry partners, that project assessed the needs and gaps between the two sectors in the participating countries.
Coming out of the assessment of the Jamaican agriculture and tourism landscape was consensus for: formalizing the marketing linkages between the agriculture and tourism sector, development of a soil to plate supply chain that meet the demands of the local hotel sector especially in fulfilling their demand for non-traditional herbs and vegetables and the creative integration of the island's agricultural activities and products into tourism packages and attractions.
Guided by these goals IICA Jamaica developed a project proposal that subsequently received funding under the European Union-Government of Jamaica Rural Diversification Programme to undertake an Agro-Tourism Project in Buff Bay Valley of Portland. The project seeks to provide new income earning opportunities for residents in the target communities by developing tourist attractions in the Valley and establishing marketing linkages between the farmers and the hotel sector. We hope to use this project as a model for rural development in the banana belt and other communities across Jamaica.
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email: Shauna.Brandon@iica.int * Tel: (876) 970-2215 * Fax (876) 702-4781
Government of Jamaica
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
Telephone (876) 970-2215 fax: (876) 702-4781