South coast open to tourists — Bartlett

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South coast open to tourists — Bartlett

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The island's south coast is now open to tourists following the launch of what the tourism ministry has branded a south coast resilient corridor, which runs from Milk River in Clarendon to Negril on the Hanover/Westmoreland border.

Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett said the area, much like its parallel on the north coast, will welcome visitors with robust health and safety protocols, as a move to drive the continued safe re-opening of the tourism sector.

While addressing Parliament yesterday, Bartlett said: “This expansion, which takes effect on July 15, will enable more visitors to experience the tourism product, while enabling tourism businesses and workers to restart operations in a safe environment.”

He noted that the key protocols of the corridor includes limiting access to only authorised properties to ensure that visitors will be travelling to COVID-compliant locations, as well as ensuring that public and private sector stakeholders are responsible for collaborating on extensive monitoring.

“The protocols were designed based on benchmarks of nearly 20 markets in the Caribbean and globally as well as international health agencies. They cover big and small hotels, guesthouses, attractions, beaches, transportation, shopping, social activities (restaurants and bars) and cruise ports,” Bartlett said.

He noted that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is playing a lead role in driving compliance with the protocols. To that end, the agency has redeployed existing product quality officers to increase the complement of personnel dedicated to overseeing compliance from 11 to 70.

“Moving forward, the intention is for the TPDCo to work in collaboration with the ministries of health and wellness; local government and community development; transport and national security, along with other tourism partners to enforce protocols along the corridors. "To this end, the Ministry of National Security will deploy over 140 TPDCo-trained District Constables to boost the surveillance mechanism,” he said.

In order to become COVID-certified, tourism entities are required to, among other things, submit a recovery plan based on the protocols; introduce proper COVID-related signage, as well as enforce social distancing, hand sanitising, and the wearing of masks.

The minister also announced yesterday that the next phase of the re-opening would see the opening of COVID-19 compliant attractions on July 21.

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