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KINGSTON, JAMAICA: December 22, 2015 – As part of the preparations for this year’s Winter Tourist Season, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, yesterday met with senior diplomats from Jamaica’s main visitor source markets (United States, Canada and the United Kingdom). These three countries traditionally represent 90 percent of the island’s visitors. Discussions centred on updated protocols regarding visitors who may get into distressed situations while visiting Jamaica.
Addressing a breakfast meeting at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, Minister McNeill told the gathering of diplomats as well as representatives of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), that the outlook for the Winter Tourist Season was very positive. He once again reiterated that investment in the sector was at an all time high. “2015 will be another record-breaking year for arrivals and we are set, to once again, surpass the three-million mark for total visitors,” the Tourism Minister said.
Dr. McNeill said that as usual his ministry was working closely with the JTB, JHTA and the embassies to ensure all protocols were in place to lend assistance to visitors who may get into distressed situations while in Jamaica. “We are seeking to strengthen communication and have a vibrant working relationship with embassies and high commissions so we are all comfortable that the necessary safeguards are in place so that should an incident occur it is handled according to best practices,” said Minister McNeill.
The JTB’s Visitor Relations Department, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and the JHTA, has crafted fundamental guidelines for handling incidents involving foreign nationals who get into distressed situations, including deaths, hospitalization, destitution, accidents, and criminal activities.
These guidelines include ensuring that incidents that may have a negative impact on visitor experience are handled effectively, sensitively and in a timely manner; that accurate information is disseminated to relevant agencies and organizations as soon as possible; as well as safeguarding Jamaica’s image and that of the tourism industry.