Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that the Ministry was determined to stamp out harassment and other unsavoury activities, which threaten the tourism sector.
According to the Minister, the industry has grown over the years, with unprecedented levels of investment in hotel construction and the development of attractions, which have brought record numbers of visitors to the island. With the successes, he said, “we have also attracted to the industry, some downsides… such as harassment, which, if not managed carefully on a daily basis, can capsize the entire industry”.
“While I am prepared to work with the cultural issues, there is one thing that this Minister can never work with you on and that is the issue of passing on contraband and illegal substances to the visitors and Jamaicans alike in the resort areas. I have to seek to eradicate the illegalities,” Minister Bartlett stated, as he addressed the installation ceremony for the Tourism Courtesy Corps held recently at the Old Hospital Site in Montego Bay.
The group, which went through an intensive training programme, will be deployed in resort areas all over the island, to ensure the safety and comfort of visitors.
Members of the Tourism Courtesy Corps at the official launch and installation ceremony of the corps held recently at the Old Hospital Site in Montego Bay. The security personnel will be deployed in resort areas across the island.
Already, personnel have taken up duties in Montego Bay, while others are to be deployed to Negril, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Kingston.
The corps of security officers was selected by Marksman Limited, which won the three-year contract to provide the service, while the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) carried out the training. Areas covered included visitor relationship, the geography of Jamaica, people and anger management. They also received district constable training and have the power to detain but not arrest.
According to the Tourism Minister, the tourism corps, which is Team Jamaica certified represented “a softer and more congenial and hospitable approach to safety and security in the resort areas.”
He urged the courtesy corps to carry out their duties diligently, noting that they have the full support of the various stakeholders in the industry and the police force.