JHTA: Tourism sector playing its part to prevent spread of COVID-19Saturday, July 24, 2021
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Clifton Reader says the sector has been doing all it can to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Since reopening last June, our hotels, attractions, tourist transportation, visitor shops, and craft markets have been steadfastly observing the [health and safety] protocols — sanitising and social distancing — to protect our workers and their families, our guests, and Jamaicans in general, and it is paying off,” said Reader.
“Every entity in the tourism sector is inspected and certified following the extensive protocols crafted by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Ministry of Health & Wellness,” he said in a release.
The JHTA's comment comes in light of this week's announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that a review of the protocols were being considered as COVID-19 cases continue to rise since the relaxation of some protocols, among them the cutting of curfew hours on July 1.
Reader said the JHTA is concerned about the uptick in COVID-19 cases in the country and encouraged individuals and businesses to take very seriously the warnings from the health authorities for personal and collective responsibility in faithfully observing the COVID-19 protocols of masking, sanitisation and social distancing. “These simple but vital behaviours save lives as well as jobs,” he said.
“The systems introduced in the tourism sector have been so successful that we have thus far had a 98 per cent compliance score across the sector from TPDCo, along with continuous recertification from the Ministry of Health and the Social Development Commission,” Reader said.
“We have been diligent and consistent in maintaining the highest possible COVID-19 protocols, adapting our operations and employee behaviour, redesigning public spaces, and even introducing touchless services. We also have a robust system of both screening and testing for COVID-19. We are very pleased that these measures have proven to be successful as there is a low COVID positivity rate within the sector of just 0.5 per cent, which by any measure is extremely low,” said Reader.
The JHTA boss said, while the tourism sector has traditionally proven quite resilient in response to previous natural disasters like hurricanes and other crises, “The sheer depth and breadth of COVID-19 has necessitated a full national effort to mitigate the economic and social impact and craft a plan for the sustainable and inclusive recovery of the Jamaican economy.”
He said he impact of COVID-19 was still being being felt throughout the tourism ecosystem, as well as affecting other sectors and industries.
“We have been working closely with the Government and the health authorities to establish and maintain the protocols necessary to keep everyone safe, restore traveller confidence, and rebuild the destination in a measured and coordinated way to develop a stronger, more sustainable and resilient economy,” said Reader.
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 https://bit.ly/epaper-login