Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government has not yet decided on a date for the reopening of the tourism industry, but that one will be announced as soon as a decision is taken on protocols.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on May 11 at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre in Kingston, he explained that the protocols for the reopening are being studied by the COVID-19 Economic Task Force that was appointed to ensure that all protocols, especially those relating to health, are at a point where they can militate against the risk of reopening.
Pertaining to the protocols, the Prime Minister informed that the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has been working with the industry to establish the necessary protocols.
“Whatever protocols are finally decided on, as we have done with all the others, we will go into public discourse, then we will start with a trial phase, and then with a final reopening once we have ironed out all the issues,” he said.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister said the reopening date will likely be around the time when other countries are opening their tourism sector.
“With the closure of the global tourism industry, we had no choice here but to close our hotels, but we must be prepared for the day when we reopen. We will not allow the crisis to cripple us to the point where we don’t take preparatory action,” he said.
“We have to be timing [it] very carefully, because other countries are going to reopen and people are going to travel, and Jamaica must be the number-one destination for travel — that is how we recover stronger from crisis,” Mr. Holness added.
According to the Prime Minister, other countries have already started preparing their own protocol, hence Jamaica must also be ready, especially given that the 170,000 workers who are employed in the sector are anticipating the reopening.
Minister Bartlett, for his part, emphasised that the tourism industry is not just critical to the local economy but also to the global economy. Therefore, he indicated that reviving the industry is a priority and that the team is working assiduously to get the industry back on track.
“All of our stakeholders, the hoteliers, the airlines, the travel agencies and the attractions, we have established probably one of the strongest teams ever assembled for the business of building the tourism fabric in our country. We are satisfied that within a short period of time and in consultation with all the stakeholders and partners… we will be able to announce a specific date that we will begin opening the tourism industry,” he said.
Source: JIS News