Staycation: Lots of fun and big boost to the Jamaican economy

Iconic locations in Jamaica, like the Rose Hall Great House, are not just to be enjoyed by visitors.
Iconic locations in Jamaica, like the Rose Hall Great House, are not just to be enjoyed by visitors.

It’s nearing the Christmas season, and persons will be packing travel bags to jump on a plane and take a trip abroad to enjoy their vacation time. But does travel abroad always equal the perfect vacation? Staycationing and exploring the rich adventures right here in Jamaica could be the perfect option.  

Dr Andrew Spencer, executive director at the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), said that there are huge benefits when Jamaicans staycation.

“The individual gets to explore the natural beauty of Jamaica and delve into a deeper experience of Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage.”

— TPDCo’s Dr Andrew Spencer

“A Jamaican staycation benefits the individual, in that the individual gets to explore the natural beauty of Jamaica and delve into a deeper experience of Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage. This experience can provide a renewed appreciation of what Jamaica has to offer; what locals sometimes take for granted,” he said.

Economic boost

“A staycation benefits the country by boosting the local economy. The money that would have been expended on airfare, hotels, sightseeing abroad, is spent in the local economy. This benefits local farmers, restaurateurs, hotel workers, and transportation providers, who can then provide for their families. With a staycation there is very little leakage of income from the Jamaican economy.”

When asked if there were drawbacks of staycationing, Spencer said that he could think of very few drawbacks.

During a Jamaican staycation, the individual gets to explore the natural beauty of Jamaica.
During a Jamaican staycation, the individual gets to explore the natural beauty of Jamaica.

“Local tourism is popular in Jamaica; church groups, school groups and companies often go on trips to popular attractions. But at the same time, I know many people who have never visited many iconic locations in Jamaica, even as foreigners know about and visit these locations repeatedly,” Spencer told BUZZ.

Vacation choices

“We can encourage more Jamaicans to visit parts of the island other than where they are from through the use of educational campaigns and competitions that offer prizes that allow for exploration of the island.”

Although some Jamaicans see the country as being less appealing than foreign vacation choices, Spencer said that might be due to American pop culture and what we see in the movies.

There is a blue hole in almost every parish.
There is a blue hole in almost every parish.

“The grass always seems greener on the other side. Foreign vacations have their merits and broadens one’s perspective, so there is nothing wrong with wanting to vacation abroad. Staycationing and vacationing abroad each have their unique qualities and offerings. None is necessarily better or worse. They’re just different,” he said.

Exotic locations

Spencer said that while many Jamaican hotels have beaches as part of their properties, there are numerous attractions across the country that people can enjoy.

“There is a blue hole in almost every parish; there are waterfalls in every nook and cranny, even on main roads; heritage sites and places of interest are scattered all around and are open to all Jamaicans. Some are hidden gems, and if we look around, there are numerous wonderful locations for Jamaicans to visit and enjoy.”

Some of the exotic locations in Jamaica that are worthy of a staycation are Blue and John Crow Mountains in St Thomas; Millbrooks Farm in St James; Bunkers Hill Cultural Xperience in Trelawny; Charles Town Maroon Asafu Yard, Reach Falls and Blue Lagoon in Portland; and Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth.

Written by Nichola Beckford