Carefully crafted words, an old man told me, makes the experience from a book come alive. Words can let you feel the tickle of grass on your cheeks, the warmth of the sun penetrate your bones and transport you anywhere, allowing you to migrate, if only for a few hours. With a glow in his sharp eyes, he touched his chest to dramatise how books and words can touch your heart, making it possible to actually leave this world unscathed by its troubles and pain.
Language has tremendous impact; in fact we see it all over the internet, people trying to speak and act like us, which makes us proud to be Jamaicans. This is why the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has lent its support of 1.2 million dollars, to, it is safe to say, Jamaica’s greatest literary festival, “Calabash” which for us is worthy of our contribution. Why? you may ask, primarily because of the focus we place on community tourism and giving others (and us) the opportunity to immerse themselves in our culture and truly experience another side of who we are and how we live.
Community tourism, for TPDCo not only represents a type of tourism, but acts as a vehicle of development, and with events such as Calabash, visitors are able to see another side of Jamaica other than usual images of resorts and beaches. It is also quite fitting that Calabash is hosted in what is described as the home of community tourism, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth. This location will lock you into its embrace and give you the chance to see how majestic and surreal the south coast is. We can just imagine how wonderful it will be to see literary geniuses demonstrate creativity through their words.
With that said, TPDCo also realizes the importance of showcasing our local brilliant minds and how artistic and intelligent our people are. This is the reason we are also excited that some of our craft producers and artisans will be given a platform to display and sell their work to those who appreciate art and its ability to bring life to our surroundings. We understand that many of these pieces have many tales stored in the intricate carvings, woven in the baskets, printed in the Batik and the many other art forms that will be on show, and we would love to share these special gifts with everyone.
We implore you to take the opportunity to travel to Treasure Beach this June to experience literary magic and to see for yourself what community tourism really entails and the ways that local entrepreneurs are changing the lives and perspective of both our visitors and locals. This is an experience that differs significantly to what many are used to, but will, as the old man said “touch your heart, making it possible to actually leave this world unscathed by its troubles and pain.”
The Calabash Festival will take place at Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth from June 1-3 2018. The festival is free! Get the chance to see the work of our local artisans who are dedicated to producing quality pieces that are reflective of our fantastic history and heritage.