Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett has announced that his Ministry will be offering a six-month moratorium on licenses and fees that are to be paid by tourism entities.
Minister Bartlett made this announcement earlier today during a digital press briefing hosted by his Ministry to update stakeholders.
According to the Minister, the categories of entities that are set to benefit include: resort cottages, apartments, guest houses, villas, homestays, car rentals, bike rentals, watersports, domestic tours, contract carriage, craft traders, Ministry approved places of interests and various other categories that have to go to the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Tourism Product Development Company for licenses.
“The accumulative revenue that we forego for that six-month period, which will end in September of the year, will be J$9.7 million. This will give you some level of reprieve and hopefully help with the cash-flow situation for a number of our partners,” said Minister Bartlett.
This six-month moratorium will be reviewed depending on the length of time it takes for the country to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the briefing the Minister also announced that Professor the Hon. Gordon Shirley, President and CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica, has agreed to chair a cruise recovery programme for COVID-19.
“The panel that we have established is a very eminent one, which includes some of the best minds in the cruise sector and we are hoping to have them begin to work, as early as next Monday [April 20]. This will allow us to start putting protocols in place and begin engaging with our partners, to get that sector back on track as quickly as possible,” said Minister Bartlett.
Minister Bartlett also provided an update on the Tourism Recovery Task Force, which was first announced during a digital media briefing on April 9.
“We will be working on a hard 2-week drive, to get the framework of the recovery ready, for first discussion with a major international company. This company will be working with us to develop the technical aspect of the plan.
We are going to be taking that plan to our partners… We want to create a new tourism after COVID-19 because we recognize the changes that are going to take place,” said the Minister.
The task force will consist of two layers of partners whose mandate is to, among other things, provide a recovery and growth stimulation framework for the sector.
It was created to establish a realistic view of the sector’s baseline or starting position; develop scenarios for multiple versions of the future; establish the strategic posture for the sector as well as a broad direction of the journey back to growth; establish actions and strategic imperatives that will be reflected across various scenarios; and establish trigger points to tackle action, which includes a planned vision in a world that is learning to evolve rapidly.