Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett says his Ministry remains committed to facilitating the reopening of the tourism industry in a safe and seamless manner, in the post COVID-19 world.
He noted that this move is being guided by his Ministry’s Tourism Recovery Task Force, as well as the recently announced Tourism Industry Post Covid-19 Protocol, which was developed to ensure the safety of the workers in the industry, as well as to build confidence among travellers to adapt to “the new normal” of additional health and hygiene practices.
“As we adapt to the new normal in the travel industry, we know that in order for us to reopen, we have to be proactive in our approach and ensure that Jamaica’s tourism and hospitality is COVID secure. We want to make certain that our workers are safe, while also restoring the much-needed confidence of our visitors to come our destination when the borders of the world fully re-open,” said the Minister.
The protocol document is consistent with guidelines from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, to reduce future risk of infection and to provide a higher level of safety for both visitors and citizens of Jamaica.
Protocols for the management of Post-Covid-19 were established to guide operations for: Airports; Cruise Ports; Accommodations; Attractions; Tourism Transportation Operators; Craft Traders; Water Sports Operators; General Security and Public Safety; and Mega Events.
“The process, which will be managed by the Tourism Product Development Company, entails a whole range of responses that the workers of the industry will have to make and also quite a bit of infrastructure adjustment that the hotels will have to make, as well as the transportation sub-sector. It will also involves some changes at the airports and the seaports. So, it’s a pretty comprehensive set of protocols covering all points of entry, as well as the experience of the visitor within the destination,” said the Minister.
The Minister also provided an update on the Tourism Recovery Task Force, noting that Jessica Shannon, a Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) Advisory Partner based in Jamaica, is the newest addition to the Secretariat.
Shannon served as PWC’s deployed point partner throughout the Ebola crisis, focusing on the response and recovery efforts in West Africa; in this context she served as a senior advisor to private companies and government organisations in the design of strategy, policies and protocols as well as risk identification and monitoring.
In addition to her current client engagements, she is part of a small task force established to refine and drive the implementation of PwC’s global near- and mid-term strategic transformation in the wake of COVID-19.
Shannon has been a Subject Matter Expert for the G20 think tank on economic and financial resilience and a speaker at conferences hosted by Harvard University, the World Bank and the United Nations. Prior to PwC, she gained strategy experience as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and on the global leadership team at EY.
This is the second addition to the committee from Price Waterhouse Coopers, as it also includes PWC’s Senior Partner, Wilfred Baghaloo, who chairs the COVID-19 General Tourism Working Team sub-committee.
Baghaloo was also the Co-Chairman of the Tourism Working Group for the Jamaica Tourism Linkages Committee which assessed how to ensure more local linkages to tourism industry and the development of local supply industries to the tourism sector.
The Ministry established the Covid-19 Tourism Recovery Taskforce last month, with a public-private sector collaboration consisting of key stakeholders from the tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism, and Agencies of the Ministry. It will be supported by two Working Teams – one for general tourism and another for cruise tourism – and a Secretariat.
The Task Force has been tasked to bring about a realistic view of the sector’s baseline or starting position; develop scenarios for multiple versions of the future; establish the strategic posture for the sector as well as a broad direction of the journey back to growth; establish actions and strategic imperatives that will be reflected across various scenarios; and establish trigger points to tackle action, which includes a planned vision in a world that is learning to evolve rapidly.