Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer, says sensitisation sessions for the COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols that will be implemented for the reopening of the tourism sector have begun.
The sessions started yesterday (June 8) with hotels in Negril and St. Ann and will run until June 15, when the sector reopens.
“We had a very successful day in Negril. We had 66 participants in three separate sessions,” Dr. Spencer said.
He further explained that going forward, the sessions will be held both virtually, via Microsoft Teams, and face-to-face at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and the Ocho Rios Cruise Pier, at 10:00 a.m.
Dr. Spencer told JIS News that a combination of face-to-face and virtual meetings will ensure a greater reach among its stakeholders, noting that sensitisation and training will cover all the areas listed in the protocols document, including accommodation, attractions, water sports, craft shops, shopping, cruise ports, airports, contract carriage, restaurants and bars.
On Tuesday, June 9, the sessions targeted workers within hotels; on Wednesday, villas and guest houses; Thursday, transportation – tours, car rental, contract carriage and operators; on Friday, craft traders/shops, and on Monday, June 15, attractions –beaches and water sports.
“All of the sessions at the Montego Bay Convention Centre will be streamed live on Microsoft Teams. For the face-to-face sessions, we are ensuring that we maintain the physical distance – that there is six feet between participants,” Dr. Spencer explained.
He pointed out that as the country prepares for reopening, the workers of the industry are of utmost importance.
“We are committed to the workers of Jamaica. The workers in the hospitality industry are the most important part of this puzzle for us. We would not have engaged in a process of opening, were we not convinced that we could take care of our own Jamaican people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Spencer said that while training and sensitisation are taking place, several entities have indicated a readiness to be inspected.
“Our product quality team has also been dispatched to do inspections in those places, to make sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place for the careful rollout. But, while we are doing that, we are covering all the workers of the industry,” he said.
Businesses will not be allowed to open until they are assessed by the TPDCo. Once the necessary protocols are in place, they will be issued a COVID-19 Resilient Certificate.