The key for reopening travel and tourism may be in Jamaica
WTTC declared Jamaica COVID-19 safe
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You may be feeling the rhythm of Jamaica when it comes to reopening travel and leadership. In Hawaii, the CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority Chris Tatum runs away from the problem, but in Jamaica the Hon. Minister Edmund Bartlett takes the problems hand on, and the world’s tourism experts are watching him ready to follow his lead.
430 Million Dollars loss a day is a reality for a Jamaica without visitors.
” Our 350,000 workers involved directly or indirectly in the travel and tourism industry have to work,” said Bartlett. ” The tourism industry is linked to banking, insurances, retail, agriculture, fishing, transport, entertainment, lodging, energy, construction, and manufacturing among others. If tourism cannot reopen this year, Jamaica would face a 145 Billion Dollar loss.”
Many jurisdictions in the world face the same dilemma. Keeping tourism closed is not an option. Keeping a destination closed is a disaster for any economy that relies on visitors for their income.
The United States and Europe are no exceptions. The opening of beaches, restaurants, hotels, and borders is happening in many parts of the world. In some regions, the Coronavirus spread is increasing, but re-opening measures are continuing. COVID-19 becomes an economical problem more than a health issue in some regions.
According to Gloria, Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Jamaica laid out the most robust plan in the world to safely reopen their travel and tourism industry and presented the country the WTTC seal of safe operation.
How is Jamaica, the country of reggae, exotic drinks, and beautiful beaches has become a model the world is looking at when it comes to reopening tourism?
The man behind this plan is the Hon. Minister Edmund Bartlett, the minister of tourism for Jamaica. Bartlett has been playing a role on many global platforms around the world for the last years in taking global leadership in the field of crisis and resilience.
When Jamaica had a security issue last year it was Bartlett who reached out to Dr. Peter Tarlow of Safer Tourism, a global expert in the travel and tourism industry to fix issues. It was Bartlett who reached out to the private industry, including Sandals Resorts, to guide and work with Dr. Tarlow, the US Embassy, and the Jamaican Government.
In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, Minister Bartlett took the lead and was involved in many initiatives relevant to the crisis. This includes his guidance with Project Hope by the African Tourism Board and his discussion in Tourism Resilience Zones together with Dr. Taleb Rifai and Dr. Peter Tarlow.
This was explained by Dr. Andrew Spencer, Tourism Product Development Company Jamaica on May 13 in an open discussion in a session by rebuilding.travel
Today Bartlett explained his concept and the implementation to the full house in Kingston:
The minister explained how Jamaica is going to safely reopen its tourism industry in a phased manner saying: “We will do everything to secure the lives and welfare of our people.”
Jamaica designated its Northshore from Negril to Port Antonio known for its famous beaches and luxury all-inclusive hotels as their tourism resilience zones.
This zone is designed to control access and to keep the country, workers, and visitors safe. Visitors are not allowed to leave the zone.
Guidelines include readily available sanitation for workers and visitors. It includes face masks and personal equipment, real-time monitoring, touchless payments and check-ins, and ticketing. It includes a system of rapid response to any situation and a health care team available at all hotels.
Workers in Jamaica tourism industry had been busy during the lockdown phase during the epidemic in getting training.
Tourism resilience zones are designed to operate the tourism industry safely and professionally. The system includes training for those working in the industry to be prepared for anything that could result when doing their job.
As of March 5000 workers completed training, 2930 already received certificates on how to serve safely.
The minister explained: “All our workers know exactly what to do, how to respond to any situation they may encounter.”
Only hotels and resorts that had passed the certification process and can display such a certificate in their lobby are allowed to re-open.
The minister explained visitors may be required to provide proof of travel insurance, so any situation would not strain the public health system in Jamaica. He stressed the public health system is well equipped.
The ministry is talking with logistic providers to provide insurance to visitors so they can be repatriated and receive care while in Jamaica and if necessary. Such insurance will be less than $20.00 per visitor according to minister Barlett.