One of the island's unique eco-tourism resorts is encouraging local stakeholders to get serious about tapping into the little known but huge international faith tourism market.
Dr. Paul Rhodes, proprietor of Port Antonio's Great Huts resort says close to 300 million faith-based travelers worldwide spend more than US$18 billion a year.
"Jamaica has a unique and very rich faith tradition which naturally positions the country to host numerous groups of the faith tourism variety," opined Dr. Rhodes, whose resort offers an Afro-Caribbean "roots" alternative to the traditional hotel or villa.
"Some of our hoteliers are active in this market, but we should be doing a lot more to encourage people of faith to visit for their spiritual retreats and humanitarian missions," said Dr. Rhodes, a US-born physician who actively volunteers for the homeless on the island.
He notes that Great Huts which is built upon a four-plus acre plateau on the northeast coast in Port Antonio, will redouble its marketing efforts to capture Christian, Jewish and other faith travelers "who are looking for a quiet location in an earthly paradise to communicate with the Creator."
"We have programs and tours in place to host groups interested in exploring Kingston's Jewish historic sights, Friday and Saturday Shabbath services and church services on Sunday followed by time to unplug at our truly spiritual home in Port Antonio," Dr. Rhodes explained.
The Great Huts resort clusters African style huts and tree houses within a jungle landscape. The huts are perched on cliffs overlooking Boston Bay with its famed traditional jerk cooking and the Caribbean Sea.