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  • Jamaica is among highly tourism-dependent developing countries globally that are poised to benefit from 25 million doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines being sourced on their behalf for industry workers. 
  • Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who has been instrumental in the process, says discussions have been held and collaborations forged with suppliers in Africa, among other locations, to facilitate provision of the vaccines. 
  • While indicating that a formal more fulsome announcement will be made “in short order”, Mr. Bartlett said he was advised by a colleague minister that work is “fully on to finalise that arrangement”. 

Jamaica is among highly tourism-dependent developing countries globally that are poised to benefit from 25 million doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines being sourced on their behalf for industry workers. 

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who has been instrumental in the process, says discussions have been held and collaborations forged with suppliers in Africa, among other locations, to facilitate provision of the vaccines. 

While indicating that a formal more fulsome announcement will be made “in short order”, Mr. Bartlett said he was advised by a colleague minister that work is “fully on to finalise that arrangement”. 

He was speaking during the seventh staging of the ‘Christmas in July’ tradeshow, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Thursday (July 22). 

Mr. Bartlett said efforts to secure the vaccines represent a “statement of tourism’s responsibility” in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I have been making the point that tourism has a voice, and that voice must be heard in the management of this COVID [response] process. As an industry, none has been affected as devastatingly as tourism while… none has responded faster,” he noted. 

Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica’s tourism industry has been a “responsible partner” in managing the pandemic locally. 

“We understood the pandemic with all of its uncertainties, because we understand disruptions [and] vulnerabilities that are inherent in tourism,” the Minister posited. 

He said that among the responses spearheaded locally were the establishment of a risk management committee and recovery task force, the development of comprehensive protocols for industry stakeholders, the provision of inputs such as personal protective equipment and sanitiser dispensers to stakeholders at all levels, the introduction of an accreditation programme to certify COVID-compliant industry entities, and establishment of the resilient corridor incorporating resort areas along Jamaica’s north coast.  

“The tourism resilient corridor became, for us, the place where our visitors could go and be assured of [us] maintaining the highest [standards] of COVID-19 management, so as to reduce the possibility of infection and spreading of the virus,” Mr. Bartlett stated.  

Consequent on this, he said the positivity rate in the corridor, after accommodating 67,000 visitors, was 0.6 per cent, based on research and other analytical tools utilised. 

This out-turn, he pointed out, was “several hundred per cent better than the national positivity rate”. 

Mr. Bartlett contended that the industry’s rebounding from the impact of COVID-19, as evidenced in the restoration of 50,000 jobs over the last six months, “means that other sectors have that capacity [to rebound] too, and that we all can be better, as a country, in managing this pandemic”. 

The ‘Christmas in July’ tradeshow is a collaborative initiative of the Tourism Linkages Network – a division of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA). 

The signature annual event, which attracted approximately 250 participants this year, provides an opportunity for local producers of corporate gifts and souvenirs to promote their products to alternative market segments. 

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