Jamaica News: The second phase of the island-wide security audit of hotels and attractions being undertaken by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo), is to be completed by June this year.
This was disclosed by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who informed that 16 properties located in Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios have been audited to date.
Mr. Bartlett was speaking at a press briefing, held at the New Kingston offices of the Tourism Ministry on Tuesday (January 8).
“What we are doing is not to go to every single entity but rather to look at categories and to ensure that we are taking solid samples of each, so we get a good sense of what is going on… then we can apply the principles of safety and security as they are evolving to deal with those areas,” he said.
The Minister said the review exercise is expected to put the Government in a better position to measure, monitor and evaluate the overall security infrastructure for the sector, noting that at the end of the process, a document is to be produced that will inform new policy arrangements and possible legislative arrangements, if necessary.
“Certainly, the document will put us in a position to guide the way forward and to build out a strong communications programme for training and public education in particular, because we believe what has to be done is a reorientation of the players in the industry and a ‘reappreciation’ of what the relationship between visitors and host countries is, and what are some of the new technologies that are now impacting the way decisions are made and actions are determined,” he noted.
International tourism security expert, Dr. Peter Tarlow, is to provide technical support in the production of the document, which will entail a complete list of findings and recommendations on the way forward. Of note is that recommendations may also include stricter sanctions for breaches, including revoking licences in some instances.
Dr. Tarlow, who held several consultations with officials of the Tourism Ministry, tourism industry partners and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) personnel, said he is impressed by the willingness to cooperate and to collaborate among various sectors of the industry.
“People have been incredibly open. I would say this is one of the most transparent countries I have been in,” he said.
The security audit was designed to get a thorough evaluation of the security vulnerabilities of the properties within the hospitality sector and destination areas to uncover non-compliance, deficiencies and irregularities and to assist the operators of these business enterprises to enhance the quality of their existing security apparatus.
The audit aims to measure, monitor and assess the overall security architecture within the industry; collect and collate data in relation to incidents; establish benchmarks and minimum thresholds for elements of the security apparatus; establish a pathway to correction for the industry and mitigate the concerns of the market; reduce negative public relations values that have partially affected the destination Jamaica brand value; enable human resource personnel practices, such as training, monitoring and recruiting staff within the industry, and ensure that these are aligned with destination assurance principles as a mitigation strategy.
The main areas of focus were personnel and electronic security, environmental profile, building safety and security, communication devices and security incident history.
Part of the audit also included security awareness meetings with General or Resident Managers and the Human Resource and In-house Security Managers at the hotels and General and Operations Managers at the attractions.
Source: JIS News