Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Jamaica to launch insurance programme for tourists in two weeks

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 11:01 AM
Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett

Jamaica has developed the first end-to-end insurance programme for tourists travelling to the island – the Jamaica Cares Insurance Programme – which is to be officially launched in two weeks.

The initiative, which comprises two components – an all-hazard and a COVID-19 programme – is aimed at providing travel protection and emergency services to tourists coming into the island, as well as to ensure the safety and protection of workers in the tourism sector and, by extension Jamaican citizens.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced yesterday that the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC)  has signed an agreement with Global Rescue for the implementation of the programme.

“The Jamaica Cares Programme 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,” he 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.

The Minister, noting the negative impact that the pandemic has had on the tourism sector, said that despite the negative forecast that is projected 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. Today is tangible evidence of Jamaica and the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre resolve to ensure resilience in this new COVID pandemic world. In times of crisis we see innovation, new procedures like the COVID-19 protocols and the resilient corridor Jamaica has led the world in establishing,” Bartlett said.

The Minister pointed out that the coronavirus resilient corridor is an important and effective component that gives the country the ability to manage and track the movement of tourists, while enabling them to enjoy the tourism activities.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer of Global Rescue, Dan Richards, commended both the Minister and President of GTRCMC, Professor Dr. Lloyd Waller, for having the innovative vision to create the programme.

“What we’ve done is to build an end-to-end solution for tourists going to Jamaica to get peace of mind. People need to feel confident that their safety and well-being is being taken care of during this current crisis and beyond, and that is exactly what the Jamaica Cares Programme is all about,” he added.

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 added that arrangements with Jamaican hospitals are being established for provision of local care.

Additionally, Richards said the all-hazards programme will include evacuation, logistics and response for all tourists in need of medical and crisis support for big and small emergencies, including mass crisis support for large events like natural disasters, terrorism and other significant systemic type crises.

The COVID-19 services will include rapid testing and triage for symptomatic travellers’ treatment and associated care as needed in Jamaica, that includes up to $50,000 medical insurance coverage, access to Global Rescue personnel in Jamaica to ensure immediate response, and up to $100,000 of international medical coverage to include medical costs that are incurred during travel home, repatriation and evacuation 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.

The Centre, which will be expanded in other areas if necessary, will have the capacity to employ up to 80 medical crisis response personnel.

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