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Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Hon. Aloun Ndombet Assamba, has said there was no evidence of cancellations in tourist bookings as a result of the CARICOM Special Visa, which has been put in place for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC).
“To date, we have no evidence of any cancellations due to the need for obtaining a visa.we have evidence of very buoyant bookings,” Mrs. Assamba said, as she addressed a press conference yesterday (Jan. 9) at the New Kingston offices of the Jamaica Tourist Board.She noted that the Ministry was working very closely with tour operators, travel agents, travellers and the immigration department, to ensure that there was no fallout from the process.
“We know that whenever there are changes, there is a lot of resistance to change, but the visa is a fact of life. We are working with all our partners internally and externally to ensure that we do not have any falloffs in visitor arrivals,” she told journalists.
With its implementation delayed by a month, the visa regime will take effect from February 1 to May 15 in CWC host countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
Nationals of all countries except Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, the United States and all CARICOM nationals except Haiti, will be required to obtain the CARICOM Special Visa to enter the host countries during the four-month period.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Horace Peterkin, said recently that the visa requirement had resulted in losses to some local hotels, as visitors have cancelled their bookings to travel to destinations, which do not require visas. He however welcomed the one-month delay in its implementation.