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Jamaica Tourism Enhancement Fund Paves the Way to Recovery

image courtesy of Jamaica Tourism Enhancement Fund
Written by Linda S. Hohnholz

A Business Continuity Plan (BCP) project is being developed by the Jamaica Ministry of Tourism and its public body, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), to provide a systematic method for planning, executing, managing, and developing a business continuity management system in compliance with ISO 22301:2019, the Business Continuity Management System standard.

“As we strive to develop a more inclusive sector, the Ministry and its public bodies are working earnestly to ensure that local suppliers remain resilient and are better able to provide the products and services that our visitors need. This guidebook will aid greatly in this regard. This is especially important in light of the current economic fallout caused by COVID-19, which put a strain on every sector of the economy, prime among them the tourism industry, which is now rebounding nicely and providing the driving force needed to foster continued growth in the national economy,” said Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett.

“I look forward to hearing the success stories from users of this critical tool, which will help to streamline our efforts to build a stronger, more resilient sector, which will benefit each and every Jamaican and our entire nation,” he added.

The BCP Guidebook was created to help tourism businesses better prepare for unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced some tourism enterprises to close their doors until further notice while others fought to stay open.

It includes easy-to-follow guidelines through a BCP Guidebook and other mechanisms that will assist tourism enterprises to identify, mitigate, and respond to the negative impacts of natural and man-made disasters as well as pandemics.

TEF has been able to offer strategic support to tourism enterprises to become more resilient.

This is with the help of the business consulting firm Phoenix Business Insight Limited. The kickoff for the project was held in July 2021, and in February 2022, an exciting BCP training series was hosted to develop the capacity of fifteen (15) trainers from the Tourism Development Company Limited (TPDCO), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and municipal corporations.

The participants of the training will lead the charge for a more resilient tourism sector by directly engaging with tourism operators to guide them in the development of business continuity plans for their businesses. The critical areas of the training, which included risk assessment, impact analysis, crisis communication, and recovery planning, were examined to guide tourism enterprises along the path to preparation and recovery.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of Jamaica.”

“It is an industry that accounts for 9.5 percent of Jamaica‘s GDP, 50 percent of the country’s foreign exchange profits, and employs 170,000 people directly while indirectly affecting another 100,000. As a result, when the pandemic struck in 2019, we felt compelled to provide assistance to this vital sector through a variety of projects and activities aimed at not only assisting them in their recovery, but also better mitigating future disasters,” said Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

“I congratulate my team at the TEF on yet another unique initiative aimed at strengthening our industry. I am confident that the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) project will be extremely beneficial to our industry as we continue to recover,” he added.

At the close of the training series, Gis’elle Jones, Manager of Research and Risk Management at TEF, stated that, “The 4-day training series conducted by Phoenix Business Insight Limited was a huge success. We are going to schedule interventions where trainers will go out in the sector over the next financial year. We want to make sure that when disruptions hit, all tourism entities, whether small, medium, or large, are able to bounce back and, if they can, take preventative measures. “

Other mechanisms to support the sector in the preparation of BCPs include a business continuity video series that will be published in the first quarter of the financial year as well as sensitization sessions. Business continuity planning resources will be made available to all players in the tourism sector through TEF’s website.

Jones added that, “Quite often, small businesses operating in the tourism industry believe that comprehensive planning is only reserved for larger corporations with significant capital outlays.” The truth is that every tourism organization needs a BCP that is structured based on their risk of being exposed to pre- and post-disaster threats that can disrupt their operations and result in costly setbacks.”

Through this project, TEF is actively enhancing the resilience of businesses within the tourism sector to ensure that tourism operators are ready to face current and future uncertainties.

About the author

Linda S. Hohnholz

Linda Hohnholz has been the editor in chief for eTurboNews for many years.
She loves to write and pays great attention to details.
She is also in charge of all premium content and press releases.

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