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KINGSTON, Jamaica; August 10, 2021: Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has issued an impassioned appeal to unvaccinated tourism workers, including those in sub-sectors related to cruise shipping, to get vaccinated.
“Tourism workers must always remember that they are valuable frontline workers who have a critical role to play in restoring the national economy and their own state of well-being. They must therefore play their part in helping to overcome the current setback created by the COVID-19 pandemic by taking the vaccine,” said Mr. Bartlett.
His appeal comes against the background of efforts to boost vaccination levels locally and the heightened expectation of the return of cruise shipping to Jamaican ports in a matter of weeks.
“Cruise shipping is an integral part of our tourism product and an important driver in terms of visitor arrivals and expenditure. Thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry, and we look forward to its return,” noted Minister Bartlett.
He said although cruise activities at Jamaica’s ports have been dormant for the past year and a half, “we continue to invest in the development of cruise tourism, which is critical to the recovery of the tourism sector. JAMVAC (Jamaica vacations Ltd.) has been driving this effort as we pivot in this crisis to take advantage of a new collaborative approach that will bring greater value for passengers, cruise lines and Destination Jamaica.”
Mr. Bartlett said cruise lines remained eager to resume trips to Jamaica but must abide by stipulated guidelines, which call for everyone in the sector to adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols, while creating an environment that facilitates high levels of vaccinated workers. He said several countries are lifting their ban on cruise shipping and with cruise lines anxious to recover lost ground, the ports of call that are fully prepared for their visits will be more attractive. He also stressed that under the current guidelines almost every cruise passenger and worker will be fully vaccinated.
“We have been credited for our proactive approach in developing protocols for the tourism industry as well as our resilient corridors and these have enabled the reopening of the tourism sector with a positivity rate of less than 1.0 percent; it is now time for the cruise subsector to also play its part as we follow a strategic path in reimagining the tourism sector to rebuild faster, stronger and better,” he said.
Minister Bartlett outlined that the Ministry of Tourism will be working relentlessly, particularly in partnership with the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Ministries of Health and Local Government in a bid to facilitate the vaccination of tourism workers across the island.