Jamaica to establish tourism recovery task force in harmony with stimulus package

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Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett [Photo: Michael Sloley

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – Jamaica’s tourism ministry Edmund Bartlett announced that a Recovery Task Force will be charged with developing a blueprint for the post-COVID-19 tourism industry, while finalising arrangements for the implementation of the $25-billion stimulus package, which includes a $10 billion coronavirus (COVID-19) contingency provision expected April 9.

“This is very important to us, as we know that the world is going to change after COVID-19. We know, there are going to be new paradigms that will emerge,” Bartlett added. We know also that there are going to be new markets that are going to emerge and some of the demographics that now drive the tourism experience are going to change. I think that this is very important, as we also want to look at how the airlines and aviation are going to be configured in this new paradigm. We are talking with the market, and I must tell you the market is not as pessimistic as some people think. We are seeing that the appetite for travel has not died.

“For example, bookings for May and June are still very strong. People have bought vacations sometimes a year in advance, people are members of clubs and people have rewards programmes that they are benefiting from, and all of these are impacting on the way that the appetite for the industry is still holding,” the minister said. “If we do what we have to do in Jamaica, we can flatten the curve and our recovery period can be short,” he emphasised.

“The $25 billion stimulus package is going to be comprehensive, in terms of how it impacts every single worker of the industry. So, if you are a contract worker, a full-time worker, a craft vendor, a transportation partner/stakeholder, or a small hotel owner you will get a benefit [because] we have looked at it in a broad way to ensure this happens,” minister Bartlett said.

“The responses are still coming in and some cases are not immediately quantifiable. But I want the public to appreciate that the industry is making sure that all the necessary support that the nation requires to come through this period of crisis is there, inclusive of contingency provisions of $1.2 billion in grant support for small business operators; and grants to support businesses retaining employees with a taxable income of $1.5 million or less,” Bartlett said.

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