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Story Highlights

  • The Government continues to put strategies in place to address visitor harassment, as it works to promote Jamaica as the ideal tourist destination, and foster a deeper appreciation of the industry among the populace.
  • One such measure is a public education campaign on anti-harassment, which the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment embarked on last month.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, provided details on this and other tactics to address the scourge, during his Sectoral presentation in the House of Representatives, today (April 14).

The Government continues to put strategies in place to address visitor harassment, as it works to promote Jamaica as the ideal tourist destination, and foster a deeper appreciation of the industry among the populace.

One such measure is a public education campaign on anti-harassment, which the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment embarked on last month.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, provided details on this and other tactics to address the scourge, during his Sectoral presentation in the House of Representatives, today (April 14).

He said the campaign, which is to continue throughout the year, is aimed at promoting a greater appreciation of the benefits of tourism to all Jamaicans and not simply to those who work in the sector.

“We also plan to do a study to establish the general perception of the benefits of tourism. Based on the findings, we will be able to more specifically target this campaign into identified areas,” Dr. McNeill noted.

The Minister said more has to be done to protect visitors who venture into the resort towns who complain that “they face a wall of harassment while they are out there.”

“We have to do something about this. Those who say that stopping harassment is a fight against the little man should realise that, to the contrary, this is a fight for the little man,” he stressed.

The Minister argued that harassment has been shown to be one of the main reasons why many cruise ship passengers stay on board while ships are in port.

“The same is true of stop-over visitors who often do not venture out of the hotels due to the problem. This significantly affects small operators, such as craft vendors and other small businesses, as this severely limits their contact with potential customers,” he said.

Dr. McNeill informed that last year a task force was appointed with members from the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Police and other stakeholders to intensify the drive against harassment. Subcommittees were also appointed in the various resort towns.

“The police force has also taken a number of new measures to assist with the problem and we are working closely with them,” he said.

The Minister informed that last week, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) turned over $80 million to the Ministry of National Security for the repair and purchase of vehicles for the police to increase their mobility and to assist in the fight, not just against harassment but crime in general.

“We are going to continue to aggressively fight to rid Jamaica of the problem of visitor harassment. Only then will we begin to see a wider cross section of Jamaica’s communities, businesses and individuals benefitting from the tourism sector,” Dr. McNeill assured.