Friday 25 September, 2020

Tourism sector doing its part to improve safety for all - JHTA

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson.

President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Omar Robinson.

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has moved to assure the public that the local tourism sector is doing its part to secure the safety of staff, communities and visitors. 

The JHTA’s pronouncement on Friday follows the United States' level-three warning against travel to Jamaica due to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the island.

The US State Department urged Americans to "reconsider travel" to Jamaica due to the spread of COVID-19 on the island.

The level-three warning came after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans to avoid all non-essential travel to Jamaica, warning that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in the island.

There are four travel advisory warning levels, ranging from "exercise normal precautions" to "do not travel."

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Omar Robinson, President of the JHTA, said while the association remains concerned by the US Department of State’s level three advisory to Americans to "reconsider travel due to health and safety measures as well as COVID-19 related conditions" – the advisory is an upgrade from the previous harsh level four – “Do Not Travel”. 

Robinson noted that the level four warning is still in place for several countries in the region.

Regional countries with a level four warning include the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Belize, Mexico, Haiti and Peru. 

At level three, Jamaica is classified with countries like the UK, Canada, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Trinidad and St Kitts. 

Robinson said the JHTA was also very concerned about reports of increased numbers of positive COVID-19 results in Jamaica necessitating the institution of 14-day lockdowns in two communities this week. 

Jamaica on Thursday, recorded 30 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the total tally to 958.

In the meantime, the JHTA said it is doing all it could to reinforce the need to follow safety protocols across its membership.

“The tourism sector is doing its part. We’re observing strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols in our properties to keep staff, and by extension, their families, communities and guests safe," Robinson said.

He reminded that resilient corridors have been set up for tourists and have so far been working well and we have even been recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council with its 'Safe Travels’ stamp'.

The JHTA president went on to note, “With the onset of summer vacations, we expect that Jamaica no doubt will continue to see the traditional influx of our nationals returning home to visit friends and family.”

“We appeal to everyone to be careful – observe the quarantine rules and safety protocols and protect each other from the spread of COVID-19. Our country and all our livelihoods depend on us all behaving in a disciplined and responsible,” Robinson added.

 

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