Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has expressed confidence that adequate systems have been put in place for the reopening of Jamaica’s tourism industry. This, as he lauded the efforts of tourism partners and stakeholders for the preparations that have been made at the Sangster International Airport to facilitate the smooth reopening of the sector on Monday (June 15).
Minister Bartlett and key stakeholders had a walk-through of all areas of the airport through which the passengers will travel, with special emphasis on Immigration and Customs, before being tested for signs of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to departing the airport for their respective vacation spots.
Minister Bartlett said the logistics were in place to enable as seamless a process as is possible for the dawning of a new era in tourism. He commended all partners and players who have been working overtime to make sure all parts come together effectively.
He underscored that the airport team had introduced numerous changes to facilitate social distancing consistent with stipulated health protocols. Furnishings within the airport have been arranged, technology to capture the temperature of passengers and sanitization stations installed to satisfy health requirements under COVID-19.
While maintaining that the processing of arriving passengers on Monday “will not be an insurmountable task,” Minister Bartlett said: “We’re really hoping that our locals and visitors alike will have an experience that they will be comfortable with bearing in mind the many challenges posed by this pandemic. This is a very unique situation and we are doing our best to manage it properly.”
He said while everything was being done “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 & Wellness, Dunstan Bryan; Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie; Regional Technical Director, Western Regional Health Authority, Dr Diane Campbell-Stennett; Director of Tourism, Donovan White; Senior Advisor/Strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Omar Robinson; Director of Projects, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Stephen Edwards; JTB Regional Director, Odette Dyer and JDF Captain Jevan Brown, in charge of logistics.
The airport team was led by Chief Executive Officer, Shane Munroe and Chief Operations Officer, Peter Hall.
The reopening of the sector will commence with some six flights landing at the Sangster International Airport from Jetblue, American and Delta Airlines. Passengers will be a mix of tourists and Jamaicans returning home.