My Jamaica Your Jamaica

THE WEEKLY GLEANER | DECEMBER 10 - DEC EMBER 16, 2020 | www.ja maica- | I to ensure compliance. The move has been adopted by all stakeholders in the sector, with Sandals Resorts International (SRI) being one of the biggest proponents. The hotel group’s chief operating officer, Shawn DaCosta, during an interviewwith‘My Jamaica’, said that, despite the massive disruption of the tourism industry worldwide, the feedback has been positive. “The appetite for travelling has not been dampened … that is what we have been getting from the market,” he stated. “The United States market is going to travel … the US market, we know, wants to travel, as people have been telling us of their desire to travel. This is what we have been getting from right across the states.” DaCosta noted that the concern about guests coming into the island with the coronavirus shouldbeweighed against the reality that “persons don’t travel if they know that they are sick”. “People are travelling because they know that they are healthy,” he added.“Even a COVID-19 hotspot like Florida … people are using it mainly as a gateway to come to Jamaica and are not necessarily coming in from Florida.” He revealed that SRI has not been coming across guests in the hotels that are sick or are showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, noting that “we are actually seeing a decline in the number of persons who would normally be coming to our nurses’ station for even a blood pressure check”. Chief operating officer of the newly formed Arya Resorts Management Group and immediate past president of the JHTA, Omar Robinson concurred, stating that “the principles of our Resilient Corridors has done so well, they should be replicated across all communities of our country”. “It’s time for us to band together to protect our communities, by firstly projecting ourselves,” he noted. “But we must do it while allowing our economy to return to some semblance of buoyancy, which means that tourism, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, services etc. must all come back online, but doing so with the established COVID- 19 protocols and clear responses, with surgical precision to infection spikes, entrenched in every part of the processes, for the protection of everyone.” He added: “If we truly put lives first, then we can see that lives depend on managing the spread of the virus whilst responsibly managing our nation’s economic recovery. There is no health without food and shelter as well.” 13 I T IS my distinct pleas- ure to invite you to visit our beautiful Jamaican shores. We remain mo- tivated by the growing number of people, like you, who visit Jamaica every year, and the many inter- national accolades that we have won – due largely to your positive feedback. Like many other destinations across the globe, our tourism sector has felt the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the adversities of the last few months, I can say with certainty that your experience will be safe, seamless and secure, because of the number of health protocols we have developed and implemented. Our robust COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which have been endorsed by theWorldTravel and Tourism Council, as well as our innovative COVID- 19 Resilient Corridors, have allowed us to balance the phased reopening of our tourism sector, while also ensuring the safety of our tourism workers, residents and you, our visitors. These measures have been embraced by industry players globally, and have proven to be very effective. In fact, Jamaica has become the most COVID-resilient destination in the Caribbean. Therefore, it is no surprise that, through our hard work, Jamaica has also become a global ‘thought leader’in the development and implementation of protocols to effectively manage and mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 within the tourism industry. Despite the challenges, Jamaica still remains the perfect choice for a fun-filled and safe vacation. The country is currently enjoying the highest booking rate in the region with more bookings directly rather than through travel agents. This is due in large part to our successful Rediscover Jamaica campaign, which is an initiative launched by the Jamaica Tourist Board in July, that encourages Jamaicans to utilise the country’s many tourism products and attractions, through staycation packages. Taking advantage of low rates, locals have been flocking to hotels for weekends of relaxation. As minister of tourism, it is my great pleasure to encourage you to make Jamaica your destination of choice for your next vacation. Once you are here, immerse yourself in our culture and create fond memories, which will guarantee that you will want to visit Jamaica again very soon. Hon Edmund Bartlett, CD, MP Minister of Tourism THE COUNCIL and mem- bers of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) join me in extend- ing warm felicitations to readers of ‘My Jamaica’. The name of the publica- tion is one which resonates with all of us who love this beautiful island. Whether you were born in Jamaica, are of Jamaican heritage, or visited and fell in love with our island, you undoubtedly share our view that this is one of the most amazing destinations in the world. From the stupendous Blue Mountains in Kingston and St Andrew, the majestic Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, the scenic beaches of Portland, Montego Bay and Negril with its world-famous seven-mile stretch of white sand, we know we are a truly blessed nation. Whether it is an all-inclusive or EP hotel, a villa on the beach or in the mountains, full on luxury or more completely rustic, Jamaica offers a range of experiences to cater to every personality and preference. The hiking and cycling trails, zip lining and horseback riding tours, beckon to the adventure seekers, while the sun seekers, spa lovers and culture enthu- siasts also find much to keep them happily occupied. This is a particularly challenging time as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaica has taken this threat very seriously, developing and imple- menting a strict proto- col of safety measures to protect our staff, our guests and our com- munities.We have even designated a COVID- 19 Resilient Corridor along the North Coast, which boasts a number of hotels and other accommodations and attractions that are fully equipped and ready to receive guests. Throughout the island, we are also attuned to the need to be careful, to observe safe protocols to preserve healthy communities and families. We ask our guests to do likewise so that we may all continue to maintain good health and enjoy the many wonderful expe- riences that Jamaica has to offer. The industry is busy updating the product, expanding offerings and including brand- new adventures, so that we remain top of our game and retain our reputation as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Clifton Reader President, JHTA. ‘We are a truly blessed nation!’ ‘Jamaica remains the perfect choice!’ Hon. Edmund Bartlett, CD, MP Minister of Tourism CONTRIBUTED Clifton Reader, president, JHTA. FILE MESSAGES President of the JHTA Clifton Reader (left) and chief operating officer of Arya Resorts Management, Omar Robinson at the launch of the Covid-Ambassador Programme CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS SAFEST CONTINUED FROM 12 MY JAMAICA , YOUR JAMAICA The open air lobby at The Cliff Hotel in Negril. CONTRIBUTED THE WEEKLY GLEANER | DEC MBER 10 - JANUARY 9, 2020 | | MY JAMAICA, YOUR JAMAICA THE W EKLY GLEAN R | DECEMBER 10, 2020 - JANUARY 9, 2 021 | www.jamaica-glean | CHRIST MAS FE TURE