Jamaica Cares Travel Insurance Component Still in Development

Weeks after the Jamaican Tourism Minister announced its creation, the travel insurance component of the Jamaica Cares COVID-19 programme is still in development, according to Donovan White, director of the Jamaica Tourism Board.

Our final initiative is to announce that Jamaica cares. It is clear that Jamaica Cares is not a logistical health program. That program has not yet started, White said at Thursday’s press conference.

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When the insurance and logistics program starts, we expect it to be mandatory, White said. We hope to be able to provide more information on this in the near future.

Instead, White said, the comprehensive Jamaica Cares programme encompasses all of our responses to the pandemic across the country and underscores our commitment to resilience in the face of challenges. This strengthens our response to COVID-19, White said.

Jamaica Cares also believes it is important that our local communities remain active and healthy. – Donovan White (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Bureau of Tourism)

Jamaica Cares also ensures that our local communities are working and healthy, White said, and that international travellers have a safe, seamless and coordinated travel experience with COVID. Since the outbreak, Jamaica has been one of the few countries in the Caribbean to receive a significant number of visitors.

In fact, [Jamaica] welcomed a new member in the first two weeks after opening on the 15th. June 7,000 visitors, which we took as an encouraging sign. The summer months saw an increase in visitors in July and August, with Jamaica receiving about 18,000 visitors in two months, White said.

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Although the numbers are well below historical norms (Jamaica welcomed 4.23 million land and cruise visitors in 2019), visitor numbers continued to rise from October to December, when the country welcomed our highest number of visitors since 2020 with more than 90,000 visitors, White said.

He said January remained encouraging with 43,800 visitors and just over 50,000 visitors in February. Although our arrival figures are positive, we must maintain a balance between active [tourist] sales and marketing while containing the spread of the coronavirus.

To that end, the country has continued to monitor and update COWID-19 protocols, procedures and resources, White said.

We have significantly expanded the [COVID-19] testing capabilities to bring the island up to the level of testing requirements for international travelers, White said. According to White, the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Welfare have set up mobile testing centres in resilient corridors across Jamaica, and more than 40 hotels and resorts are offering guests the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19.

Although Jamaica recently reported an outbreak of localized COVID-19 infection, the country began a mass vaccination program this week. In addition, the increase in infection rates has had minimal impact on travelers in resilient corridors, White said.

We’ve certainly had a few cases among [tourists] who were tested while they were there and found positive, he said. All our hoteliers have quarantine rooms in their establishments. In addition,] the sustainable corridors have allowed us to ensure that we monitor and track the movement of visitors in the country within the corridor, where they go and when they go. And if there are cases, we can track them down.

Mr White added: People coming to Jamaica now have the assurance that Jamaica has an aggressive vaccination program that will hopefully increase their personal safety, knowing that they are traveling to a destination that has taken COVID-19 seriously and is at the forefront of measures to protect lives and livelihoods.

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