Newly reappointed Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, will be intensifying his focus on the recovery of the sector, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), including providing support to various stakeholders.
Speaking with JIS News at the swearing-in ceremony for members of the Cabinet at King’s House on Sunday (Sept. 13), Mr. Bartlett said that the sector has to be “reset” in order to respond to the new reality created by the global pandemic.
“It’s an enormous job that is ahead because it is a new tourism that is emerging globally. It is going to require a new understanding, indeed, a reimaging of tourism as we know it,” he noted.
He told JIS News that as a first order of business, he will be “bringing the various players back to the table for us to start thinking through this process and to look at what’s happening globally.”
Noting that the recovery of Jamaica’s tourism industry is critical to the overall economic recovery programme, he said that there has to be a new approach that is focused on safeguarding the sector while protecting lives.
“At the very heart of what we have to do is a new understanding of how that relationship is going to subsist and how we’re going to enable the livelihood of Jamaica to be secured while the lives of Jamaicans are protected,” he said.
“I think, that, we have to have a better understanding of how we manage COVID-19 and how we manage the economy and tourism. The three Ts that I regard as central to this are – Tracing, Testing and Treatment. We have to understand that in dealing with (the virus), a vaccine may come, but these are the three Ts that are going to guide the way in which we can balance livelihood and lives,” he added.
Minister Bartlett told JIS News that Jamaica is fortunate to benefit from the input of global stakeholders during the recovery process.
“Fortunately, during this period, we have been in touch with the world and we’ve just had a geo-pandemic discussion only a couple days ago in covering every continent of the world.
“So Jamaica is positioned for that kind of discourse and dialogue. We have to glean ideas and to be able to own those ideas and to apply them effectively,” he said.