Wed | Aug 12, 2020

South coast reopens to tourists

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2020 | 12:29 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer


Just under six weeks after the north coast reopened to overseas visitors, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced a second phase of the Resilient Corridor that spans Jamaica’s south coast.

Bartlett, who made the announcement in a press statement earlier on Tuesday, said that the corridor will span Milk River in Clarendon to Negril, Westmoreland. He said the boundary encompasses the main road to the coastline.

“Public- and private-sector stakeholders are responsible for collaborating the extensive monitoring exercise that is required and up-to-date reporting is required,” said Bartlett.

The tourism minister said that it was up to visitors to make honest declarations in seeking travel authorisation and that it was also the responsibility of tourism entities to follow protocols.

“The protocols were designed based on benchmarks of nearly 20 markets in the Caribbean and globally, as well as international health agencies. They cover big and small hotels, guest houses, attractions, beaches, transportation, shopping, social activities (restaurants and bars) and cruise ports,” he said.

Since the tourism sector reopened to visitors on June 15, Jamaica has welcomed more than 35,000 visitors and resident Jamaicans, Bartlett revealed. He estimates that during July, Jamaica will welcome a total of 41,000 passengers, including visitors and resident Jamaicans, resulting in approximately US$80 million in earnings.

On June 4, Bartlett had said that preference was given to reopening the north coast over the south, as the former was more manageable.

Bartlett said that the lead agency, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), has redeployed existing product quality officers to increase from 13 to 70 the complement of persons dedicated to overseeing compliance from entities on the south coast.

He also stated that the Ministry of National Security will deploy more than 140 TPDCo-trained district constables to ensure there is an adequate number of staff to monitor the region.

Bartlett said that in order to become COVID-certified, tourism entities are required to, among other things, submit a recovery plan based on the protocols; introduce proper COVID-related signage, as well as enforce social distancing, hand sanitising, and the wearing of masks.

By next Tuesday, July 21, the attractions sector will also be reopened.