Jamaica 50 to become model for future celebrations

Luke Douglas

Thursday, August 16, 2012    

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THE massive Jamaica 50 celebrations that culminated with the Grand Gala on August 6 will become the template for showcasing the country to the world over five weeks each year.

Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna said the model used in this year's celebrations would be transformed over the next year into a "robust action plan aimed at positioning the cultural and entertainment industry as a central pillar for economic growth going forward".

She said the period July 1 to August 6 would be used as a "major focal point in positioning the country by creating a truly international event capable of showcasing the country and ending with the main celebratory period from August 1 to 6".

Speaking yesterday at a press conference hosted by the Jamaica 50 Secretariat at the Wyndham Kingston hotel, Hanna said the celebrations highlighted by the six-day Jubilee Village at the National Arena were a success.

"It was truly a team effort and one we can all be proud of. Jamaica at 50 is a very blessed country. We are not only a country of cultural superstars but we have the potential to be in control of our own destiny," Hanna said.

Commenting on the budget for the celebrations, project manager for the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, Robert Bryan, said more than $204 million of the $688-million budget, or about 30 per cent, came from sponsorship from 26 companies.

"We are still doing our assessment in terms of the revenue generation side of it, but based on the plan we have we expect to be within the framework of the planned budget which is $688 million. We still have some money chasing on the road, but we have been paying our bills," Bryan stated.

He also expressed pride that the Jubilee Village and the Grand Gala were staged "essentially incident-free" and that the park-and-ride programme, under which patrons parked their vehicles at certain locations and were taken by Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC) buses to the Jubilee Village, was also successful.

"Many persons thanked us and said they were experiencing riding on a bus for the first time in their lives," Bryan noted.

In reviewing the impact of the live transmission from Jamaica of the television programme Smile Jamaica to the United Kingdom (UK), Bryan said the world's love affair with Jamaica could be converted into significant earnings for the country.

"During August 1 to 6 there were at least three or four major international media houses that had teams in the village requesting accreditation and requesting permission to shoot," he said.

The project manager, however, called for more focus on marketing Jamaica to the UK diaspora.

"I believe (the UK diaspora is) under-tapped in respect of conversion in a commercial and developmental way. Many of those persons have a desire to contribute to the development of the country," he said.





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