Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Tourist health insurance kicks in next month

Published:Saturday | October 3, 2020 | 12:10 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett speaking at the reopening of Zoetry resort in Montego Bay, St James, on Thursday.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett speaking at the reopening of Zoetry resort in Montego Bay, St James, on Thursday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced plans for a comprehensive health insurance and repatriation programme for visitors to the island, which will be introduced on November 1.

Speaking at the reopening of the Zoetry resort in Ironshore, Montego Bay, on Thursday, Bartlett said that the tourist-insurance programme will give the island a competitive edge as not only will it provide visitors with a “final stage of protection”, but it will complement his ministry’s efforts to make travelling to Jamaica easier.

“In the process, for a small cess on their ticket, they will able to come to the country, ensure that their testing is done. Whatever health requirements are needed while they are here on island will be covered,” Bartlett said.

“And if they are ill – and become seriously ill, in fact – there is a repatriation arrangement as a plane will be on the ... tarmac, ready and appropriately appointed with paramedical arrangements, to take them back to their destination in a prescribed health arrangement in that destination,” Bartlett added.

According to the minister, Jamaica will be the first country in the world to have end-to-end health security for visitors coming to its shores, which is particularly important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand that this new generation of travellers requires health security and safety and destination assurance that gives confidence so that when they leave where they are and they come to us, they will feel that they will be safe to return home and have a safe, secure, and seamless destination experience,” he said.

“The good news is that we are finding new and better ways to ensure that our visitors have a hassle-free entry situation and allow for more visitors to come into our country in a safe way that also enables our own Jamaicans to feel safe and comfortable,” he stated.

Bartlett said that Jamaica has become the most COVID-resilient destination in the Caribbean, and its Resilient Corridor concept is being viewed as an example for the rest of the Caribbean. He said that the US Virgin Islands will be sending a deputation to see how they could implement a similar strategy.

“Absolutely no destination in the region is now as COVID-resilient [as Jamaica] ... ,” Bartlett boasted, adding that the country was able to provide a geographical design and defined area that offers a level of protection and security to visitors. “I say that without the chance of contradiction.”

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com