The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network (CCTN) signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at the Open Learning Centre on the Mona Campus The agreement was formally signed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, Dr Luz Longsworth, and the President of Countrystyle Community Tourism Network, Mrs Diana McIntyre-Pike at the event and came into immediate effect for an initial period of two years.
This newest partnership aims to provide organizational capacity development and individual capacity building of its clientele in support of advancing community tourism as “community development” through tourism. Through this agreement, both parties will commit to the facilitation of programmes aimed at realizing the full potential of persons in the community tourism industry, and the desirability of advancing community tourism as both a recognized academic discipline, and as an effective tool for holistic, equitable and sustainable development.
In remarks before the signing, Dr Longsworth indicated the agreement intends to create a pipeline to progress the training and wealth creation of community members throughout disparate communities in Jamaica initially and, subsequently, across the Caribbean region “as you build a nation one community at a time. “Through this collaboration, we intend to support community tourism in innovative ways though museums, innovation centres, technology training, to add value to the tourism product within the University’s newest strategic plan to build our economies and communities”, she stated.
Mrs McIntyre-Pike spoke directly to the great potential of the new partnership with the CCTN and the Open Campus. She highlighted the critical nature of community tourism in the sustainable development of a country in a holistic way, with the expansion of the CCTN’s ‘Villages as Businesses’ concept through this agreement. “We are going to work together and make this collaboration work around Jamaica and the wider Caribbean through education and training for a diverse tourism experience.”
The Open Campus and the CCTN shortly will begin the implementation of this agreement with the offer of several short training courses for community tourism entrepreneurs offered through symposia, workshops across the 11 UWI Open Campus Jamaica site locations.