Steps to be taken to redefine interactions with visitors — Bartlett

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica will have to redefine the “friendly” way in which workers interact with guests, although it has, over the years, earned the country repeat visitors.

“Fifty years ago we built a tradition in Jamaica of us being a nice, sweet, loving, huggy-huggy, kissy-kissy, friendly destination. That has worked very well for us and has given us 42 per cent repeat visitors, but the world has changed in terms of how people think about those kinds of relationships.

“And that change is making our embrace become less of a value and plus to us because of how the ethics of tourism has evolved and, indeed, how people have redefined relationships,” the tourism minister said.

According to Bartlett, “...We have to learn... and understand that everybody who comes to the destination doesn't come for the same things, and recognise that people come for all kinds of things, and to be prepared that we give what they need and what is required.”

He was addressing the Ministry of Tourism and Jamaica Tourist Board's inaugural Golden Tourism Day Awards, which was held on Sunday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, in honour of more than 50 veterans who have worked in the industry for over 50 years.

Bartlett also reiterated plans to develop a new programme called 'Tourism Ethics', which will be geared at training and discussions that will assist guest interactions, taking into consideration different personalities and human rights.

In order to achieve this, the minister said that early next year a team, headed by highly regarded international tourism safety expert Dr Peter Tarlow and a group called Global Rescue, will be working with Jamaica to develop a new programme on how to relate and interact with international guests.

“This is very important. It is not going to do any harm to us. It is going to put us in a better place,” Bartlett reassured.

Dr Tarlow is a scholar in the area of tourism safety and consultancy. He is the founder of Tourism and More Inc and teaches tourism safety to police chiefs across the globe. He has done work with the Canadian Mounted Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as well as the United Nation's World Tourism Organizations.

Bartlett said the aim is to rid the industry of the slightest perception of sexual harassment and assault.

“We are determined that new architecture must see a Jamaica that rids itself of even the slightest perception on that matter,” he said.

— Anthony Lewis

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