Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Tourism ministry crafting destination assurance policy

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Senior Director, Technical Services in the Ministry of Tourism, David Dobson.

The Ministry of Tourism is developing a destination assurance policy and strategy that will ensure that the tourism product remains first class and that the country can maintain its competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

"We cannot allow any threat or challenge to interfere with this product [because tourism] is the only sector in Jamaica that has grown consistently for the past 30 years," said David Dobson, senior director for technical services in the Ministry of Tourism.

"The idea is that once a visitor books a vacation to Jamaica, they can be confident from the moment of arrival until their departure [of] a comfortable, safe and fulfilling visitor experience," he pointed out.

Dobson was addressing tourism and health stakeholders at a workshop on the Regional Tourism and Health Programme at the RIU Montego Bay Hotel last Friday.

Last year, the ministry launched the Destination Assurance Council, which will work to ensure that the quality, standards and integrity of the tourism product are maintained.

Among its many functions, the council will identify the needs of the tourism industry, monitor the progress of the developmental efforts made by key stakeholders in the resort areas, and ensure that operators are licensed.

The Regional Tourism Health Programme aims to enhance the health and well-being of visitors and locals, thereby improving the quality, competitiveness, reputation, profitability, and sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

 

Real-time tourism info monitoring

 

Dobson said that since the launch of the programme in July 2017, "we have developed this web-based real-time tourism health information monitoring and response system, [and] we have established regional guidelines for harmonised responses to tourism public health threats".

In addition, extensive capacity-building in food safety and environmental sanitation have been executed and public-private partnerships have been initiated.

He noted that for these strategies to be successful, the full participation of all sector players will be necessary.

"If we are to do this, all tourism entities must be aware of this, and they are all encouraged to conform to the guiding principles pertaining to visitor safety, and that includes food safety," Dobson said, adding that the Government is committed to the programme.

The Regional Tourism and Health Programme was developed through support from the World Bank and is being executed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and member countries.