Jamaica’s resilient corridors are currently outperforming many places globally in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, setting the country up for possibly the best winter season in two years, tourism stakeholders say.
They add that the performance of the resilient corridors, so far, in handling both stopover and cruise arrivals is far better than the current positivity rate in some developed countries.
“The resilient corridors and the way they have been performing will ensure a banner winter season and for tourism going forward,” Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Godfrey Dyer, told JIS News.
“They have performed to almost perfection in handling the hotel guests and now we know for sure that the same template is working with our cruise passengers. We have to give credit to our Tourism Minister [Hon. Edmund Bartlett] for having the vision and insight to come up with such a beautiful concept and which is now helping the sector and, by extension, the country’s economy,” he added.
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Clifton Reader, said the resilient corridors have exceeded all expectations and are clearly the template that should be adopted by the rest of the country.
“We have started our ambassador’s programme where trained hotel workers and persons from other tourism entities can go back into their communities and impart the knowledge and training to others and where we are confident that it could help to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” he noted.
Mr. Reader argued that Jamaica’s success and excellent health and safety COVID-19 guidelines are a result of its strict adherence to the established protocols that have been in place since the reopening of the sector in June 2020.
“As early as April 2020, a month after the first case of the coronavirus was detected in Jamaica, the JHTA and all tourism entities took the bold step to self-regulate and worked closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to craft and implement some of the most robust COVID-19 protocols one will ever see in this lifetime,” he noted.
“All inbound visitors are tested and screened as per government protocols, and this is further buttressed by extremely strong outbound testing requirements from the island’s main source markets. This gives the Government and the JHTA factual insight and source data for all tourists coming in and leaving Jamaica, with their movements monitored in-between,” the JHTA President pointed out.
Mr. Reader said he is happy with the uptick in the number of tourism workers that have been vaccinated, adding that “we are confident that the growing vaccination numbers among our workers can be the motivator for other sectors”.
“Tourism directly accounts for a large component of Jamaica’s workforce, and our employees, as a collective body, are leading the charge,” he added.
For his part, Chairman of the Resilient Corridors Committee, John Byles, said: “It is because of the success of the resilient corridors for stopover visitors, including the quality of planning and the robust nature of design, that we are now seeing a seamless accommodation of cruise passengers without any need for changes or additional resources.”