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Safety not 100 per cent guaranteed - Tourism security expert

Published:Tuesday | January 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
International security expert Dr Peter Tarlow (left) speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Tourism in St Andrew on Tuesday. Looking on is Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett.

Tourism security expert Dr Peter Tarlow says that while he will be working closely with the Ministry of Tourism to provide a new architecture for tourism ethics and visitor safety, he cautioned citizens against expecting 100 per cent security.

Tarlow arrived in Jamaica on Sunday to join the ministry and other stakeholders in carrying out an intensive security audit of the tourism sector.

Speaking at a press briefing earlier this week at the Tourism Product Development Company offices in New Kingston, the tourism-safety scholar noted that the aim is to reduce, as best as possible, inappropriate incidents towards tourists and citizens.

"It would be a mistake for me to tell you that anyone in this world can guarantee 100 per cent security. So it's not our job to offer 100 per cent safety because no one in this world can do that. Our job is to make relatively acceptable safety standards. Just as we want to increase economic viability, in the same way, we want to decrease insecurity," he said.

"Unfortunately, the Caribbean does have a negative image, and there may be many reasons for it, but we have to change that. The perception may be wrong, but they are true in consequences."

Noting that Tarlow is being paid US$7,000 to aid with the audit, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that the country should have the results of the audit in addition to the way forward by June.

"Tourism has been the subject of much change over time. Ever since mass tourism began in the '50s, we have seen numerous changes in terms of the demand for one most important thing: safety and security," he told journalists.

"Those requirements underpin the integrity of all the vacations that people have. You travel in order to feel safe and secure, and most importantly, to enjoy happiness. Jamaica, like all other destinations, has to respond to this need and demand for high-level safety and security."