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KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 15, 2020: The Island’s South Coast is now open to tourists following the launch of a South Coast Resilient Corridor, which runs from Milk River to Negril. In an effort to drive the continued safe re-opening of the tourism sector, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett yesterday announced that the new corridor will be introduced on July 15. Much like the North Coast Resilient Corridor, which was introduced in June, this area will welcome visitors with robust health and safety protocols.
While addressing Parliament yesterday, the Minister said: “This expansion, which takes effect on July 15, will enable more visitors to experience the tourism product, while enabling tourism businesses and workers to restart operations in a safe environment.”
He noted that the key protocols of this corridor includes limiting access to only authorised properties to ensure that visitors will be travelling to COVID-compliant locations, as well as ensuring that public and private sector stakeholders are responsible for collaborating, to guarantee the extensive monitoring that is required.
“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, guesthouses, attractions, beaches, transportation, shopping, social activities (restaurants and bars) and cruise ports,” said the Minister.
Mr. Bartlett noted that “the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is playing a lead role in driving compliance with these protocols. The TPDCo has redeployed existing product quality officers to increase the complement of persons dedicated to overseeing compliance from 11 to 70, to ensure they have proper capacity to manage this task, which entails constant monitoring.”
“Moving forward, the intention is for the TPDCo to work in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Wellness; Local Government and Community Development; Transport and National Security, along with other tourism partners to enforce protocols along the corridors. To this end the Ministry of National Security, will deploy over 140 TPDCo trained District Constables, to boost the surveillance mechanism,” he said.
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.
During his presentation, the Minister also announced that the next phase of the re-opening exercise would see the opening of COVID-19 compliant attractions on July 21, 2020.
“We have already had indications that 23 such attractions, in the vicinity of the North Coast area have become compliant and we have two along the South Coast, including one that is not in this immediate corridor. One of the reasons we have put the opening of the attractions to July 21, is to ensure that we have that full level of compliance that is required,” he explained.
“The tourism sector reopened to visitors on June 15, 2020 and since then, has welcomed over 35,000 visitors and resident Jamaicans. It is estimated that during the month of July, Jamaica will welcome a total of 41,000 passengers (visitors and resident Jamaicans). This will result in approximately US$80 Million in earnings,” Minister Bartlett said.