A Safer Jamaica Travel Destination: Where it stands?
A safer Jamaica holiday destination is the key to a better tourism export and a more engaged and happy population. This is true for the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica and most likely for any travel region relying on revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edward Bartlett has shown exceptional leadership in addressing an issue that many tourism minsters in the world would hesitate to talk about. Other destinations with travel and safety issues may pay expensive PR agencies to clean up reality. Not Jamaica. The Minister is tackling this problem face on and has already substantially increased tourism revenue because of this attitude.
For Jamaica, the United States is the most important source market for inbound tourism. In facing this problem, a national audit of Jamaican tourism establishments is being conducted by Safertourism.com under the leadership of Dr. Peter Tarlow. Dr. Tarlow is a world-renowned expert in the field of tourism security and safety.
Dr. Tarlo established a direct link to the US Embassy in Kingston to keep his activities and audit transparent. Building such a partnership will build trust between Jamaica and US authorities. It will allow the US State Department to make a more fair and informed evaluation when informing American travelers of any possible risks involved in traveling to Jamaica.
Currently, Dr. Tarlow is in Jamaica. He is meeting with Jamaica Tourism stakeholders and government officials, leading this important security initiative for the Government of Jamaica.
The establishments being audited include the older forms of lodging such as hotels, as well as new parts of the market such as Airbnbs. These newer sections of the accommodation market are made up of less formal forms of lodging and present a whole host of new challenges, from code enforcement to health issues.
Jamaica Tourism Minister Bartlett has said that the tourism sector is too focused on the narrowed economic interest of a few and lacks a social conscience. He points to stakeholders such as Sandals Resorts as a positive example. The Resort Group has been a leader in working with communities that surround their hotels.
Sandals launched a Foundation some ten years ago to expand corporate social responsibility programs across its base in the Caribbean. To date, it has contributed over US$58 million, positively impacting 850,000 lives.
Along with and audit of lodging in Jamaica, Dr. Tarlow is working with Jamaica Tourism to examine aquatic tourism security as well as rural tourism security and festival security. All of these components of tourism present areas where safety needs to be addressed. When combined with the fact that visitors often lower their inhibitions on holiday as they seek new experiences and thrills, the task of upholding security can be daunting.
Tourism security assessments are the first road maps to where a location needs to go. In Jamaica, the best of academic research will be combined with practical and implementable ideas. This means working with hotels, police, and the military, along with listening to what foreign consulates have to say. In addition, it is important to find ways to convince the local population that tourism can and does positively impact their lives.
Jamaica tourism must find creative ways to use tourism security to protect not only guests but also the people, communities, cultures, and economies of those who work in the tourism industry in this island country in the Caribbean. This will be accomplished through analyses, meetings, and hard work – something Dr. Tarlow and the SaferTourism team is accustomed to.
Dr. Tarlow has been working for over 2 decades with hotels, tourism-oriented cities and countries, and both public and private security officers and police in the field of tourism security.
Safertourism.com is operated by the eTN Corporation, publisher of eTurboNews.