Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Hotelier says Mobay now safest in years - Bartlett: Gov't action not arbitrary

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:04 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Tourists relax at the popular Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay.

As Jamaica comes to grips with the fallout caused by travel advisories and the calling of a state of public emergency in St James, the country's Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett is reassuring visitors that the island remains safe.

Quoted in a media release distributed to travel agents and consumer media in the United States last Friday, the minister said the action taken by the Government is not arbitrary as it required a great deal of strategic planning.

In his statement, the minister noted that these enhanced security measures are not out of the ordinary in international tourism markets, and therefore, would be understood by visitors and welcomed by residents.

He argued that the Jamaican citizenry have been supportive of the action, with a resident from the affected area welcoming the move by the Government.

"All members of the tourism fraternity have given their full support to the measure and are feeling that these actions are welcome to ensure the safety of Jamaica's guests and citizens," he added.

Several travel agents, tour operators and persons booked to arrive on the island have queried the status of operations within the tourism sector. One of the persons fielding questions has been hotelier and area chair for the Montego Bay chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Jason Russell.

Russell said it is perceived that the country is on lockdown, and it is very important for persons to know that Jamaica is open for business.

"Montego Bay is the safest it has been in years. The security forces are professional and are not impeding the movement of either locals or foreigners," said Russell.

He was also quick to point out that Jamaicans are the industry's number one asset and as the nation's number one employer (tourism) it is important for the workers to be safe.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com