Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer, says close to 16,000 tourism workers have already been sensitised about COVID-19 safety protocols, in a series of workshops organised by the entity.
These workshops, which began on June 8 and will end on June 15, have been held in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios for stakeholders across Jamaica as the local tourism sector prepares to reopen its doors for visitors on June 15.
Dr. Spencer told JIS News that he expects this number to increase to close to 20,000 persons going into next week, as the aim of the initiative is to “reach every worker” in the industry.
“I am happy that in less than one week, we would be able to reach almost 20,000 people, and we are going to keep pushing,” he said.
On Friday, June 12, scores of craft vendors were invited to a workshop at the Montego Bay Convention Centre where TPDCo personnel held various sessions. The sessions focused on Worker Protection, which entails operational protocols, rapid response, training and assessment, among other safety measures for the front-line tourism workers.
“It was very necessary to invite them all and to ensure that they are [familiar] with what we are trying to accomplish – a safe workspace for them first, and safe space for visitors,” Dr. Spencer outlined.
“We want to reach every worker, and because we recorded every session, we are going to be sharing the recordings,” he added.
TPDCo has been mandated by the Ministry of Tourism to handle every element of the soft reopening of the sector that will be done in phases.
“So, the next two weeks, June 15 to 30, we are mainly operating accommodation facilities along what we call the COVID-19 Resilient Corridor and then come June 30, there will be an assessment of what other type of entities to include,” Dr. Spencer explained.
He noted that stakeholders who operate tourism attractions will undergo their sensitisation workshop on Monday, June 15