- Chairman of TPDCo, Maxine Henry-Wilson, highlighted the initiatives and activities which the entity has been spearheading to enhance the visitor experience.
- The Tourism Courtesy Corps has undergone re-assessment and revamping of its overall operation to strengthen its effectiveness.
- A collaborative approach was also taken to curb harassment in the resort areas.
The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has intensified its actions to ensure the safety and security of both local and international visitors to the resort areas.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on February 5, Chairman of TPDCo, Maxine Henry-Wilson, highlighted the initiatives and activities which the entity has been spearheading to enhance the visitor experience.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson pointed out that the Tourism Courtesy Corps, the body responsible for “ensuring that there is cordial interface between our visitors and our Jamaican locals,” has undergone re-assessment and revamping of its overall operation to strengthen its effectiveness.
“We have had recent consultations with the managers and they have put in extra management personnel and have also done re-training and rotation of the corps, because when they are drawn from the same local environment where they are from, there are some constraints, so they have tried to rotate them, to create some sort of anonymity, which will allow them to feel more comfortable,” the Chairman explained.
She noted that an issue came up at the last consultation, as to whether there should be a designated area for persons who do hair braiding or should they be allowed to freely approach the tourists.
The Chairman said that sometimes the problem is the approach by vendors and service providers, as while the visitor may want the service, it is the aggressive approach that is the issue.
“So, the courtesy corps is supposed to be that bridge between the population and the tourist, making sure there is no illegitimate activities, there is not a sense of being molested and if there is a service to be offered, it is done in a legal and affable way,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson pointed out.
She added that a collaborative approach was also taken to curb harassment in the resort areas, at meetings of the police, courtesy corps, the judiciary, the resort boards and the citizen associations in some resort areas.
These meetings and discussions, the Chairman noted, “led to regulation of transportation, where the visitors were requested to use certified transportation allowed on the ports, with resort patrols in the resort centres to make sure that they enjoy the environment without feeling under extreme duress.”
Other measures which have been put in place are regulating the ports to better manage who can gain access; and providing training to craft vendors and other service providers who interface with visitors.