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Blue Mountains declared as first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jamaica

The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park in Jamaica have been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The soaring majestic mountain range is the first UNESCO designated site in Jamaica and the first mixed (cultural and natural) listed site in the Caribbean, joining just 32 other mixed sites around the world.

Blue Mountains declared as first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jamaica

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has declared the Blue and John Crow Mountains as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is the first UNESCO listed site in Jamaica, and the first mixed (cultural and natural) designated site in the Caribbean, and one of just 32 mixed sites in the world.

The announcement was made at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee Meeting that took place in Bonn, Germany this week.

Paul Pennicook, the Director of Tourism in Jamaica, explained:

"We are pleased to learn that the Blue and John Crow Mountains is now recognised as a World Heritage Site. It will enhance the appeal to visitors from around the world who travel for culture and heritage."

The newly designated UNESCO mixed site joins the landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Great Wall of China.

Addressing the World Heritage Committee, who made the unanimous decision, Jamaica's Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, said:

"This has been quite a journey for us as a country. The experience has taught us many things, and among them, we have learnt to appreciate our distinctive natural and cultural heritage even more."

She also added:

"There is a natural mystic that belies who we are as a county and as a people. A small nation with unabashed resolve and courage giving to the world the King of Reggae Music Bob Marley, and the fastest Man and woman on land; Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Frazer Pryce.

Our history, in particular, the struggles and defiance of our Maroon People helped to mould us into being distinctly Jamaican. To this end, we want the world to not only drink our Blue Mountain Coffee but also see the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Blue and John Crow Mountains, a site that the world can embrace as its own, exhibiting the natural and cultural values that will give an understanding of our 'Jamaicaness'."

Located in north east Jamaica, the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park spans approximately 78 hectares of tropical land made up of steep slopes and lush rainforest, and a variety of wildlife species including the world's biggest butterfly, the Papilo Homerus, 200 species of birds, and 800 species of endemic plants.

Jamaica is an island nation situated in the Caribbean Sea, home to miles of pristine white sand beaches that are fringed with turquoise warm ocean waters, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush rolling emerald green hills.

Tourists can explore the island's magnificent natural wonders such as Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, the five-mile-long Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay, and lush botanical gardens.

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