Focus on making the reopening safe, not on fear-mongering

Focus on making the reopening safe, not on fear-mongering

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

As Jamaica wisely moves to reopen the country and stave off the economic disaster which is potentially worse than the COVID-19 virus, we welcome the just-launched, first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp designed to achieve safe travel — the brainchild of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has expressed support for the stamp designed to allow travellers to recognise governments and businesses which have adopted the globally standardised health and hygiene protocols.

Not unlike the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, businesses like hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, outdoor shopping, transportation, and airports will be able to use the stamp once they have implemented the WTTC measures.

Destinations will also help to award the stamp of approval to local suppliers, the council said, noting that the launch of the global protocols has been embraced by over 200 CEOs, including some of the world's major tourism groups, like and Expedia, hoping to bring back confidence to travel and tourism.

In essence, the protocols provide consistency to destinations and countries, as well as guidance to travel providers and travellers about the new approach to health, hygiene, deep cleansing, and physical distancing in the post-COVID-19 world.

It provides the public and private sectors with common rules, insights, and toolkits for interaction and implementation to ensure that people are and feel safe by creating short protocol reports for at least nine industries within the travel and tourism industry.

It is reassuring to note that the protocols take into account current World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which will be updated as new information becomes available about COVID-19.

The protocols are also being defined based on the experience of WTTC members in dealing with COVID-19 and on the best available medical evidence, having looked at 90 different types of crises in the last 20 years.

WTTC also collaborated with international organisations such as the International Air Transport Association, Airports Council International, and Cruise Lines International Association to ensure alignment across the sector.

“Detailed discussions took place with numerous key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment, and practical implementation to set clear expectations of what travellers may expect in the 'new normal' before the vaccine is available,” the WTTC reported.

It is obvious that the quick action of the WTTC was spurred by statistics showing that travel and tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs, or 330 million, making a 10.3 per cent contribution to global gross domestic product (GDP), while generating one in four of all new jobs in 2019.

Jamaica, per capita, is a big part of that, with earnings last year of US$3.7 billion and employment of some 350,000 directly and indirectly, and the total beneficiaries of tourism rising to almost 1.25 million people.

While the sector remains closed, it is not difficult to see the devastation being wrought to the economy, and that is only one industry. It is worth noting that, even after reopening, the recovery will be a long, slow, painful process.

We had better right now be focusing on a safe reopening.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon