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JM | Dec 13, 2020

Bartlett upbeat for Jamaica’s bright tourism future

/ Our Today

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Just like these famed heart-shaped bungalows, tourists still show great love for Jamaica’s tourism product. (Photo: Sandals.com)

By Fernando Davis

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says that while the coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought tourism to a grinding halt, reports of the industry’s impending demise are being greatly exaggerated.

Bartlett said that contrary to the doomsday predictions that are being purported by some, the evidence shows that travelers are still excited about a post COVID-19 period and that the appetite for traveling has not died.

“We are talking with the market and the market is not as pessimistic as some people think,” Bartlett noted. “There are some green shoots that are emerging. Future bookings for example are looking very positive. People have not gone and sais we are going to cancel our bookings.”

Bartlett said that it should not be lost in the discussions that travelers are in the habit of buying vacations up to a year in advance and are also rewarded with a number of incentive programmes, making it even more enticing for them to keep their vacation plans intact.

“People are cognizant that this coronavirus pandemic will one day subside and that there will be a return to normalcy,” he said. “Yes it looks very bad right now and tourism-dependent nations like Jamaica and many Caribbean nations are feeling the pinch. However, all is not lost and we simply have to rebuild confidence and prepare ourselves for a return to normalcy.”

Bartlett said he is urging all well thinking Jamaicans to continue to adhere to the health and safety guidelines that have been put out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, adding that “this is the best way for a speedy recovery.”

He added that it is also very important for stakeholders to keep the line of communications open, noting that now was the time for everybody to hear “brighter days are ahead.”

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. (Photo: JIS, YouTube)

“In a strange kind of way this industry will emerge from COVID-19 as this is the time for thinkers…this is the time for the visionaries…this is the time for the Caribbean to rise and to prepare to take its rightful place as the destination for the future,” he argued.

Bartlett said that now is also the time for tourism to strengthen its linkages with other sectors, noting that now more than ever the linkage with agriculture looks like the ideal marriage.

“Our farmers are in a real unique position to capitalize in a post COVID-19 world,” he added. “Remember, all the rooms that are slated to come on stream are still in the making and our domestic produce will be even more in demand than ever before. I am confident that beyond these dark clouds we are seeing here today, there is a silver lining.”

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