Monday, July 20, 2020

‘It Would Die!’ - Bartlett, Tufton Urge Tourism Caution On COVID Travel Ban As Bahamas Locks Out Americans

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (right) adheres to the protocols of a temperature check and hand sanitisation with automated equipment ahead of entering the reception area of the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville. At left is owner/director of Golf View Hotel, Peter Campbell.

By Danae Hyman

Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett has cautioned that a ban on travellers from the United States in a bid to contain COVID-19 would deliver a death blow to Jamaica’s hospitality industry.

His warning comes in the wake of The Bahamas announcing on Sunday that it was ordering an immediate lockout of travellers from America as coronavirus cases there surge to world-record levels, with nearly 80,000 new infections daily.

Florida is one of the major source markets for Jamaica’s travel sector, both with nationals and non-nationals, with the US state nicknamed Kingston 21 because of its high expatriate density. Jamaica had already flagged Florida, along with Texas, New York, and Arizona, as COVID-19 hotspots, but the Sunshine State has moved into territory of its own with more than 10,000 daily infections.

Global cases have topped 14 million and deaths are nearing 600,000.

Bartlett believes that Jamaica will have to weigh carefully the implications of a total ban on the US.

“It would die! We would have to close the industry,” Bartlett told The Gleaner on Sunday evening.  Read more >>