Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Tourist insurance scheme in a pandemic not a good idea

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2020 | 12:15 AM


I’m trying to understand why Jamaica is the first and only country seeking to insure tourists in a pandemic. How will the Government pay for this? Will this travel insurance be paying out death benefits? If so, how much? Where will these monies come from?

According to reports, “The Jamaica Cares Traveller Protection and Emergency Services Programme costs $40 per person. It includes evacuation, repatriation for medical emergencies including COVID-19, international health coverage up to $100,000 and on-island health coverage up to $50,000.” No doubt these figures are all US dollars.

In 1918, fifty million people died from the Spanish flu, of which over 500,000 were Americans. Over 800,000 Americans are forecast to die from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 numbers and deaths are visibly up, and are forecast to increase in the winter season, from the majority of countries from which Jamaica benefits from tourism.

The majority of tourists are middle-aged or elderly, with undoubtedly one or more underlying illnesses. How does this insurance plan benefit our country?

Jamaica’s global-tourism resilience and crisis management centre came into being this year, 2020. Why is it that such an initiative of insuring tourists in this pandemic, or even before, was not, has not been considered by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, or even wealthier countries?

Please, the Ministry of Tourism and its minister need to see that this insurance plan may seem like a grand initiative, BUT, not in the climate of a pandemic.