Jamaica is both a place and a state of mind. This is a land of sun and surf, sea and mountains. Stay tuned to experience how this country under the direction of their tourism minister Edmund Bartlett will own the spirit of tourism resilience.
Once outside of the large tourist resorts there are the more intimate “Jamaica’s”: the world of chicken jerky and coffee plantations, the world of reggae music, Bob Marley and “yea-man”.
Jamaica is also a world of pirates from another time, Spanish galleons filled with gold, and elegant British mansions from the days of British colonialism. These other worlds are the Jamaica of the spirit, the land strangely located not in each person’s individual but collective memory. Here set against the backdrop of the blue Caribbean we find a place where souls touch forming a chain of historical realities and with hearts connecting to the spirit of the past with the hopes of tomorrow.
In Jamaica one learns that tourism is more than a business, it is the actual, the sense of the reality of now combined with memory, it is the pedestrian of the simple touching dreams and feeding the imagination and from which new memories are born.
Jamaicans are known for their smiles, their perhaps over-willingness to say yes, and a nation composed of multiple ethnic groups. In fact, Jamaicans take great pride in their nation’s diversity, a population mixture that reminds the visitor of the local pea stew, composed of many “ingredients” and colors.
This does not mean that all is perfect. Jamaica is composed of human beings and human beings create problems.
Jamaica, like much of the Caribbean, does not lack for problems. What is unique, however, especially in this part of the world, is the national will to face challenges, to seek ways to overcome these challenges, and create a sense of national purpose. Here people understand that it is the spirit of resilience that permits the innovative conquest of problems with a full heart and a sense of purpose.
As in so much of the world, there is a divide between the haves and have-nots, the worker and the vacationer. Each needs the other, and each often under appreciates the others’ contribution. These challenges are part of twenty-first-century life. The challenges will always exist, they are part of the nature of humanity. What is unique are not the challenges, but how we come to view them.
The lesson of Jamaica is that although the sun sets, a new day will be born and no matter what challenges the darkness brings, the sun will shine anew, and each new day creates new adventures filled with hope and smiles.
This is the first impression by Dr. Peter Tarlow, eTN Travel and Security expert after his arrival today in Jamaica.