Jamaica rolls out insurance programme to boost tourism
Jamaica has launched an insurance programme aimed at providing travel protection and emergency services to tourists coming into the island.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says the programme, dubbed Jamaica Cares, represents "another prong in our COVID resilience and has been designed very specifically and very deliberately".
"The programme protocol will ensure our ability to welcome travellers to Jamaica safely, knowing that in the worst-case scenario, they will be treated to the gold standards of care and service by building an alliance that looks at the travel experience to Jamaica and back home again," Bartlett said.
According to the minister, Jamaica is the first in the world to offer this end-to-end health logistics coverage.
"If an unexpected medical emergency occurs, this programme has identified precisely the components that ensure the best possible outcome for the traveller," he added.
Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, said the Jamaica Cares programme will help give "peace of mind" to tourists travelling to Jamaica.
"People need to feel confident that their safety and well-being are being taken care of during this current crisis and beyond, and that is exactly what the Jamaica Cares programme is all about," he said.
Richards explained that both components of the programme will consist of field rescue, emergency transport advisory, and oversight services from the personnel at Global Rescue and its partners at the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations.
He said the programme will charge non-Jamaican passport holders a mandatory fee of US$40 to support the work at the Jamaica Operations Centre (JOC), which will be based in Montego Bay, St James.
Jamaica, like much of the world, has suffered tremendous fallout as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The country's hotels, which were closed in March when the virus was detected on the island, reopened in June, but have struggled to get above the 50 per cent occupancy level.
Bartlett said that Jamaica, since reopening its border to tourists on June 15, has welcomed 150,000 visitors and has not had any case of the virus among visitors or workers. The minister, noting the negative impact that the pandemic has had on the tourism sector, said that despite the negative forecast for the sector, Jamaica has learned that with crisis comes innovation and opportunities to better manage and recover.
"As thought leaders, Jamaica is practically taking a vital role in recovering and rebuilding the spirit of travel by restoring the trust and confidence of travellers to our destination," he said.