Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says recovery of Jamaica’s tourism industry is critical to the overall COVID-19 recovery programme.
Speaking at a recent digital media briefing, Minister Bartlett said that “we [Tourism] are impacted greatly by it [COVID-19], but we also must be a central point of the management and recovery activities”.
He said it is clear that the pathway for the recovery of tourism will be led by workers in the industry.
“I am proud to say that my Government has made the first and important move to secure the well-being of the workers of the tourism industry,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The Government will provide financial assistance to employees who have been laid off during the COVID-19 outbreak, by way of the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources to Employees (CARE) programme.
The CARE programme forms part of the Government’s $25-billion stimulus package.
According to Minister Bartlett, “This is the most comprehensive stimulus package that Jamaica has ever seen and it embraces the workers and the ordinary Jamaicans at a level not seen in our recent history.”
The Minister further explained that the quantification of the package is being tabulated to determine how much is going directly to workers and tourism entities in general.
Mr. Bartlett also mentioned that Tourism is identified as the main beneficiary of the stimulus package, because it is the first industry that is expected to bring back the economy, based on its resilience and its ability to bounce back fast from mega disruptions and pandemics.
The Tourism Minister explained that through the CARE programme, 19 categories of businesses/workers in the industry are set to benefit.
These include Jamaica Tourist Board-licensed hotels, attractions, villas, apartments and water sport operators; In-Bond Merchants; Jamaica Tourist Board-licensed tour operators, guest houses, homestay businesses, car rentals and bike rentals; Travel Agency Companies; Raft Captains; Craft Vendors; Craft Producers; Contract Carriage Businesses; Airport Red Cap Porters; Golf Caddies and Tour Guides.