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Bartlett pleads for understanding as tourism sector reopens


MONTEGO BAY, St James – Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has expressed confidence that adequate systems have been put in place for today’s reopening of Jamaica’s tourism industry, even while he cautioned against expecting perfection.

The minister and key stakeholders in the tourism industry had a walk-through of Sangster International Airport — through which the passengers will travel — with special emphasis on immigration and customs and the facilities for COVID-19 testing.

He noted that the airport team had introduced numerous changes to facilitate social distancing consistent with stipulated health protocols, such as the rearrangement of furnishings, the introduction of technology to record temperatures, and the installation of sanitisation stations.

The reopening of the sector will commence with some six flights landing at Sangster International from Jetblue, American and Delta airlines. Passengers will be a mix of Jamaicans returning home and tourists.

Bartlett maintained that the processing of arriving passengers “will not be a difficult situation”, but acknowledged that it will not be perfect.

“We’re really hoping that our locals and visitors alike will have an experience [in which] they will be comfortable,” Bartlett said in a release.

“We also ask for understanding that this is not perfection where everything will necessarily go as we planned, but certainly, what we have done is to put in place that which will enable a start on which we can now work to achieve perfection.”

Included in the high-level team that toured the facility were permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan; chief medical officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie; regional technical director, Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Diane Campbell-Stennett; Director of Tourism Donovan White; senior advisor/strategist Delano Seiveright; president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Omar Robinson; director of projects, Tourism Product Development Company, Stephen Edwards; member of the Tourism Economic Recovery Task Force, John Byles; and JDF Captain Jevan Brown, who is in charge of logistics.

The airport team was led by Chief Executive Officer Shane Munroe and Chief Operations Officer Peter Hall.

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