The managers of two historical sites are trying to cash in on the benefits that can accrue from heritage tourism initiatives.
Improvements are taking place at the Seville Great House and Heritage Park in St Ann and the Good Hope Great House in Trelawny, to benefit from the increased visitor numbers.
The Seville Great House is getting a facelift with funds allocated under the National Protective Areas Project received from the National Environment and Planning Agency.
Operations Manager of the Seville Great House and Heritage Park, Jamaica National Heritage Trust, Claudette Anderson said the aim is to encourage more visitors to the site and to capitalize on its rich history.
Situated on a 301-acre property, it is regarded as one of Jamaica’s most significant heritage sites. It includes the archaeological remains of the indigenous Amerindian (Taino) village of Maima, the 16th century Spanish settlement of Sevilla la Nueva, the post-1655 British sugar plantation known as New Seville, and the landscape and flora that existed during that time.
“This is like a gem of Jamaica, just to come here and know the rich history of the site and its importance to the Jamaican people, this in itself is a selling point,” Anderson said.
She added that there are plans to have the Great House and Heritage Park inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
“We are about to embark on a project to get it listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. So, in a matter of three years at most, we should have the process up and running to get it on the World Heritage Site,” she said, noting that the site has received international recognition having been placed on UNESCO’s Tentative List.
A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each member state intends to consider for nomination on the World Heritage List (WHL).
Between 80,000 and 90,000 persons visit the Good Hope Great House Great House every year to experience the Jamaican culture.
Apart from viewing the Georgian architect, visitors can participate in a plethora of activities, including river tubing, jet lining through the jungle, plantation tours to places of interest.
General Manager James Robertson said tourists want to see “that extraordinary tangible history of the Georgian period” when they visit Jamaica. He revealed plans to restore a sugar factory on the site.
“We want to tell the story of sugar and rum. We want people to be able to walk through the building and see huge pictures, storyboards, art and understand how these things were made and how they were treated and processed,” he said.