Going Back to the Roots: Using Cultural Heritage Assets to Boost Tourism in the Parish of Portland by Vivienne Theresa Pitter

This dissertation conducts an examination into issues of power and culture through the case of tourism in the parish of Portland. It evaluates the power structures that have privileged traditional tourism and certain ideas about culture and explores the viability of cultural heritage tourism as an alternative. The purpose of this study is to assess how cultural heritage tourism could become a more viable form of tourism among the masses in Portland, to increase participation in order to foster economic development in communities. This to be undertaken through a bottom-up approach so that community members can become self- reliant and empowered through the use of their cultural heritage resources in tourism. The study utilizes a qualitative approach where several of its techniques were employed to gather the data. Interviews, case studies participant and non- participant observations were among the most used information gathering tools for this dissertation. The expressed views of Portlanders as well as newspaper articles were also utilized in order to get diverse perspectives about tourism and its practice in the parish in order to give support to the major arguments of the dissertation. The findings of the study reveal that there is much scope for cultural heritage tourism in Portland as there is a multiplicity of tangible and intangible cultural assets and experiences that both foreigners and locals can benefit from. Examples are seen in the various historical sites, cuisine, craft as well as the wealth of cultural assets in the Maroon villages among many others, found within and outside of the communities. Many of them have the potential to be utilized and developed as business ventures, and those that are already being utilized need further expansion for greater viability so that they can generate further benefits for the communities. There is also the recognition that there are some inherent problems surrounding the practice of cultural heritage tourism, chief of which is inadequate financial resources for funding cultural heritage initiatives and the lack of proper management of them. The absence of leadership capacity in some communities to monitor and maintain cultural heritage ventures, also presents a challenge. The information gleaned by this dissertation is significant, in that it may help to develop the knowledge base and skills of professionals in the tourism sector, especially those with an interest in the area of culture and tourism. It can also benefit policymakers within the sector, as they might be able to utilize it to assist them in arriving at concrete recommendations for further development of cultural heritage tourism in Jamaica. Researchers in culture and tourism may also find the information beneficial to their course of study.

Keywords: Cultural Heritage Tourism; Tourism; Jamaica; Portland; Port Antonio; Maroons; Cultural Studies

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