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The Shoppes of Rose Hall in Montego Bay, St. James​.
Photo: Contributed

Stakeholders within the tourism sector are welcoming the reopening of the industry, today (June 15).

Senior Director of the Royal Shop chain of duty-free stores, Ravi Daswani, while welcoming the reopening of the sector said it is imperative that all stakeholders comply with all the health and safety guidelines being implemented.

He added that the Government has put together protocols that, if followed, should “put us in good stead in bringing tourism back” in a safe and responsible manner.

“We are all aware that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is still here and remains a clear and present danger. However, we all understand that tourism has consistently… year after year…been the engine of growth… and needed to be reopened as quickly as possible,” Mr. Daswani said.

“While we are simply putting all the required health protocols in place and hoping for the best… to say we are not excited about the reopening of our airports for international travel would be the understatement of the year,” he added.

President of the Harbour Street Craft Market in Montego Bay, Melody Haughton, said craft traders “have been going through a very difficult time during this lockdown”, adding that anything that will signal a return to tourism related-activities would be welcomed by the craft traders.

For his part, water sports operator and Garfield’s Diving Managing Director, Garfield Dussard, said while he welcomes the reopening of the sector, he pointed out that “things will not just turn around overnight”.

“It is very hard to quantify the pain and suffering tourism players have been going through over the past three months where the sector was halted for fear of spreading of the novel coronavirus. It is with great anticipation and plenty of optimism that we welcome the reopening of the airports and a return of international visitors to Jamaica,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Senior Director, Chukka Caribbean Adventures, John Byles, noted that his company understands the need to ensure that protocols are in place to mitigate the spread of the virus and to make both employees and clients comfortable.

Visitors participate in water sports activity at Chukka Caribbean Adventures.

 

“We have utilised best practices worldwide and applied them here. All of our team members are about providing fun experiences. They are focused on the fun and we are building that into everything we do, including the protocols,” he stated.

“The way we maintain that, is, employees understand the why and not just what the protocols are about. And that’s how we ensure that the protocols will be followed throughout the entire organisation,” he added.

Mr. Byles also mentioned that Chukka is currently offering a complimentary river tubing tour to doctors and nurses.

“We have been running this offer since the first of April and will continue through July 1. It is for both local and foreign doctors and nurses and they have a choice to take their free tour in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic,” he explained.

He added that his company has seen the global images of the bravery and sacrifices being made by front-line workers, notably doctors and nurses, and has been moved to do something meaningful.

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