Jamaica to Host International Religious Crusade
Jamaica’s thrust to become a preferred faith-based tourism destination is expected to be boosted with the staging of the Supernatural Encounter Jamaica crusade in Montego Bay from April 19 to 21.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank at the Agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office on Tuesday (March 20), event coordinator and founder of Trumpet Call Ministries International, Reverend Mary Wildish, said the event, which is to be led by founder of King Jesus International Ministry, Apostle Guillermo Maldonado, will be streamed live and is expected to reach a broad religious-minded global audience.
“He has a media reach that is unbelievable… . This crusade will be streamed to 150 different nations. People are going to have their eyes on Montego Bay, Jamaica, and what they are going to see is the masses gathered to worship God. They are going to see the pastors united (and) they are going to see the beauty of our island,” Reverend Wildish said.
She pointed out that Jamaica also stands to gain significant mileage from Apostle Maldonado’s policy of highlighting outstanding features of the countries where the crusades are staged.
“One of the things Apostle (Maldonado) does is a 60-minute clip talking about the nation… talking about the beauty inside (that country). So it’s going to put Jamaica on the map during these three days, and I think that level of positive outreach to the globe is something that Jamaica wants and needs,” Rev. Wildish added.
Faith-based tourism, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry.
An estimated 300 million tourists visit the world’s major religious sites each year, with 600 million national and international religious voyages being undertaken annually.
The UNWTO says this growth in faith-based tourism can potentially generate significant inclusive development, through the creation of jobs and sustainable livelihoods, facilitating infrastructure enhancement and investment, and stimulating local culture, crafts and food.
Reverend Wildish said Jamaica has become popular globally for, among other things, reggae music, its food and its athletes.
She contends, however, that the island has the potential to pull more religious tourists to its shores, despite its challenges, and remains a God-fearing nation.
“With over 200 visitors coming in the days prior to the event, they are going to want to see our nation… they are going to want to taste our food. We have over 45 pastors and leaders from different nations coming in… (and) we are going to make it possible for them to minister in other churches, and I believe that they will get a taste of the Jamaican people,” she said.
Noting that the country’s National Anthem is a prayer, Rev. Wildish contended: “We know from the church (being) alive in Jamaica (that) we want a righteous nation”.
“I have had a chance to travel the world and I thank God for that opportunity, but there is really no place like Jamaica… there is no people like Jamaicans. Our nation carries something that I believe the world has taken notice of,” she added.