TORONTO — Jamaica has reopened with comprehensive health and safety protocols in place, and agents heard all about the steps clients need to take to visit the popular island destination in Travelweek’s Facebook Live event yesterday, presented in partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Flights with Air Canada and packages with ACV are currently available to Jamaica, and the JTB’s Regional Director, Canada, Angella Bennett, says she’s pleased with the lift and looking forward to adding more. Bennett was interviewed by Travelweek Publisher Devin Kinasz for the Facebook Live event.
From June 15 – 30 Jamaica is taking its first steps to a full reopening with a ‘COVID-19 Resilient Corridor’, covering the northern coastline from Negril to Port Antonio.
So far travellers can fly Air Canada into Kingston, with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday flights. Starting tomorrow, June 20, Air Canada will add Saturday and Sunday flights into Montego Bay. Resorts currently open and operating include Riu Ocho Rios, Moon Palace Jamaica, Beaches Negril and Sandals Montego Bay. More resorts will reopen in Phase 2. U.S. airlines are also offering flights.
Already close to 500 visitors have applied for pre-approval to travel to the island, along with thousands of Jamaica nationals, says Bennett. “A good percentage of the travellers right now are diaspora travellers and returning nationals, but definitely we are seeing small numbers of leisure travellers coming to Jamaica and we’re excited about that.”
The JTB has made it easy for travellers, and their travel agents, to navigate the new normal of visiting Jamaica.
First, agents are advised to go to VisitJamaica.com/Canada, the JTB’s dedicated landing page for its Canadian industry partners.
From there, a link to the JTBs’ ‘COVID-19 Travel Update’ where agents will find downloadable info sheets plus an extensive, helpful and easily understandable FAQ section with everything clients need to know.
All travellers to Jamaica are required to complete a Travel Authorization form within 72 hours of departure to Jamaica. They must also take a swab test for COVID-19 upon arriving at the airport in Jamaica. If the test is positive, they will be isolated in a public health facility for a minimum of 14 days, or some resorts have quarantine rooms available. Complete details are at visitjamaica,com/travelupdate.
These measures are in place for June 15 – 30 and Jamaica is continually reassessing the situation, says Bennett. Make no mistake, the world is still experiencing a pandemic, she adds, and Jamaica has taken these measures to keep Jamaicans safe while at the same time gradually reopening tourism, an industry that’s crucial to the island.
She told agents: “We ask that you hold hands with us as we go through this process. The travel agent community, we want you to know that we are with you and we need you all to walk with us through this process to get tourism in Jamaica back on track, and to make sure the livelihoods of our people are protected.”