Historic buildings encourage tourism
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Immediately after the fire that destroyed the Notre-Dame cathedral in France, over 500 million euros (US$565 million) was pledged to help restore it. Why? They understand the economic benefits.
Yet, for years, one of our crown jewels, the Old King’s House in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has remained in disrepair. In fact, much of our historic architecture gems in Spanish Town and the entire country have remained shabby. Still, we love to talk big about historic tourism and becoming a developed country by the year 2030.
The truth is, Jamaicans (andpeople of African descent in general) have never really paid attention to the beauty of its old architectural structures. In our mind, if it is not shiny brand new, then it is of no significance. However, we must thank the Americans and Europeans, who have opened our eyes about the economic value with the rebirth of Falmouth.
If we as a nation are serious about spreading the economic benefits of tourism to regular people, then efforts must be made to get our visitors to leave the confines of the resorts. My suggestion is that if we restore and maintain our beautiful old buildings in Spanish Town, downtown Kingston, Black River and elsewhere, real sightseeing becomes the norm.