TPDCo reports success with first 'Treat Our Visitors Right' roadshow

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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THE Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) says scores of locals and visitors turned out for its first “Treat Our Visitors Right (TOVR)” roadshow, held recently in Negril, Westmoreland.

According to the company, the roadshow, which was held in the Value Master parking lot, attracted a number of people who joined the interactive and engaging activities.

“The ongoing campaign was created in September of last year to generate awareness of the impact of visitor harassment on the tourism sector and was supported by the Negril Chamber of Commerce,” a TPDCo release said yesterday.

Participants, it said, were given the opportunity to learn about the tourism industry, its contribution to the country's development and the threat that harassment poses to the success of the local tourism sector.

The programme featured a TPDCo booth for attendees to gain knowledge of the organisation's role in the tourism industry as well as HIV information, which included condom distribution and demonstration. This activity complemented the onsite free HIV testing and counselling which was provided by the Westmoreland Public Health Department.

Speaking at the roadshow, Police Superintendent Richard Caine, of the Resort Area Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), encouraged participants to consider the consequences of inappropriate approaches when interacting with visitors.

“We should commit ourselves to understanding safe practices when we engage those who visit our island. This is the reason that the JCF is happy to partner with organisations such as TPDCo to relay the message that treating our visitors with love and respect will reap many benefits for the country,” he said.

The superintendent, in his endorsement of the campaign, also encouraged residents to be more loving to themselves and others, which will easily translate into positive behaviour when they come in contact with those who are from various countries and cultures. “This positive behaviour and influence will in turn provide benefits and opportunities for service providers,” he said.

Kenute Hare, director of the Road Safety Unit at the Ministry of Transport and Mining, in his presentation, pleaded with the audience to consider the safety of both motorists and pedestrians while traversing Jamaica's roadways.

“For 2019, we have seen an estimated 12 fatalities, two of which occurred in Westmoreland. I encourage (Jamaican) citizens to be mindful of others who are driving or walking. The goal should be a safe Jamaica that we can all enjoy. Adhering to simple, yet life-saving rules, such as wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle or a seatbelt, can help save many lives,” he said.

The roadshow also involved representatives from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) who discussed with attendees, the newly implemented plastic ban. They provided examples and giveaways of reusable shopping bags to further encourage people to make responsible choices that are in keeping with the objective to make the environment safe and clean.

The TPDCo showed a short film Cum Yah, which gave a clearer understanding of harassment and how it is perceived by both service providers and visitors.

Cum y ah is important as it allows us to see how the tourism dollars go through the economy and how the industry connects us all. When we understand the process, then we will realise that we are all stakeholders in this thriving industry,” said TPDCo's community awareness coordinator, Marline Stephenson Dalley.

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