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Jamaica: PM Holness Under Tourism Pressure

DAYS AFTER tourism advocates called for the Holness administration to declare a timeline for the resumption of incoming air and sea travel, Jamaica’s most powerful private-sctor lobby has added pressure for a clear road map towards a “date for a safe and sustainable reopening”.

Keith Duncan, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), yesterday demanded certainty in the wake of a downturn in tourism that has sparked collapsing fortunes in linkage industries such as agriculture, distribution, manufacturing, and the micro, small, and medium enterprise sector.

Citing a “significant contraction in business”, Duncan pressed for “Jamaica’s tourism industry to get up and running in the shortest possible time”.

Jamaica’s tourism and hospitality sector is estimated to have haemorrhaged 300,000 direct and indirect jobs since the outbreak of COVID-19 here in March, and the island’s economy is forecast to contract by more than five per cent, although some analysts put the loss at as much as 10 per cent.

The PSOJ acknowledged that many countries across the globe, including Jamaica, were all grappling with the challenge of when and how to open their borders.

“The Ministry of Tourism and the Government, along with tourism interests, have been developing protocols for the sector, dialoguing with the airlines and the tour operators. We are encouraged by the significant bookings coming in from those who would like to make it Jamaica for their vacation,” said Duncan.

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