Jamaica demonstrated its athletic prowess at the London Olympics, but also showcased the many facets that distinguish the country in business, tourism, culture and fashion, reports Nakeeta Nembhard, 25, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Jamaica.
This year marks a number of milestones for Jamaica – chief among them the celebration of the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.
Among the major activities comprising an extensive calendar of celebrations to commemorate the occasion, two signature events designed to take all things Jamaican to visitors and natives were held in London and Birmingham during the period of the Summer Olympic Games.
Jamaica’s National Olympic House was at the landmark O2 Arena Aug. 3-12 and “Jamaica in the Square” took over Victoria Square in Birmingham Aug. 2-6.
These initiatives aimed to celebrate Jamaica’s Jubilee, and to leverage the attention which has been on Jamaica since the monumental success achieved by the country’s athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at subsequent major international athletic meets. The signature events provided retail opportunities for producers of authentic Jamaican goods at both Jamaica House and Jamaica in the Square. Additionally, Jamaica’s rich and multi-faceted culture – especially its food, music and fashion – was on display in both London and Birmingham.
Both events were the result of extensive collaboration between various arms of the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) and the Jamaican private sector. Jamaica House involved cooperation between the national trade and investment promotion agency Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Ministry of Youth and Culture in partnership with the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).
For the ten days of operation Jamaica House provided visitors with the sights, sounds and smells of the nation. At the same time it hosted trade and investment days targeting prospective distributors and investors while a Brand Jamaica display showcased the best of Jamaican products.
“We believe very much in the tourism adage “Once you go you know”, even for business,” noted Sancia Bennett Templer, President of JAMPRO. “But since we can’t bring everybody to Jamaica we’re gonna take the real true Jamaica to London at the Olympics.”
With over 18,000 patrons visiting Jamaica House, vastly surpassing the target numbers, the event undoubtedly added to the indelible mark made by its athletes at the London 2012 Games.
The other major activity, Jamaica in the Square, was not only a result of partnership between the GoJ and the Jamaican private sector but also collaboration with the Birmingham City Council. Over the five days of the festival, visitors were afforded an opportunity to experience authentic Jamaican entertainment, to purchase a piece of Jamaica and witness Jamaican innovation and creativity.
Both Jamaica House and Jamaica in the Square made a deliberate effort to engage the Jamaican Diaspora in the United Kingdom through specific activities designed for this demographic.
With the completion of the London 2012 Olympics, Jamaica demonstrated not only the athletic prowess of its world-class athletes but also showcased the island’s many defining facets that distinguish the country in business, tourism, culture and entertainment.
Without doubt, Jamaica captured significant attention through stellar representation at the Olympics and major activities – all fitting for a country which is proudly celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence.
“I am a 24-year-old development practitioner whose particular area of interest is the relationship between people and their physical environment. My formal training has allowed me to gain an appreciation of the development process and the factors involved in achieving national development objectives.
“I hold a Masters of Science Degree with distinction in Sociology and am a recipient of the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Academics. Currently I am employed to the national trade and investment promotion agency, JAMPRO, as a consulting officer in planning and policy development.”
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