Shortly after traveling came to a halt in the spring of 2020, destinations dependent on tourism had to quickly figure out ways to implement enhanced health and safety protocols to once again welcome visitors.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recognized destinations around the world with its global safety and hygiene stamp, and Jamaica was among the first destinations to receive this.
The island put into place a series of protocols that have since proven extremely successful. John Byles, the Jamaica Tourist Board Deputy Chairman, is also the Chairman of the Resilient Corridors Committee. This committee worked tirelessly over the past year and a half to ensure tourists have a safe way to visit the island.
“Jamaica was the first of the WTTC certified operators. We did this back in June 2020. When the world was pretty much stopped, we opened our doors with this program and with all the operators certified,” Byles shared.
The Resilient Corridors include various areas of the island where strict protocols are adhered to and employees are strategically trained on the procedures, of which some include mask wearing and temperature checks.
According to Byles, these protocols are designed to have a seamless approach as to not disrupt the relaxing vacation experience everyone craves.
“Everybody is trained. It’s a consistent approach. You find that at the airport, on the buses you are following the protocols of mask wearing and sanitization; you get into the hotels, it is the same thing,” Byles explained. “When you are actually doing it, you will find it’s quite seamless. It’s not in any way disruptive in the approach or to your vacation.”
Prior to arriving in Jamaica, or even boarding a flight to the destination, all visitors must have an approved Travel Authorization document. Travelers need to also present negative results from a COVID-19 molecular (PCR, NAA, RNA) or antigen test within three days of arrival.
The Jamaica Tourist Board recently hosted an awards trip honoring its top travel advisor partners. Anthony Tucker, Vice President & General Manager at All Inclusive Outlet, was among these agents and shared his thoughts on the island.
“Jamaica sets itself apart from other destinations with the intangibles, which is extremely difficult to convey,” he said. “The vibe and atmosphere that is created by the people and culture on the island is something that must be experienced in order to properly explain it.”
Experiencing Jamaica doesn’t simply mean sitting at a resort by the pool. It goes far beyond that, as there is so much on this Caribbean island to be explored, and some travelers might be hesitant to visit when hearing about the Resilient Corridors. Rest assured, tourists traveling to Jamaica right now still have plenty of areas to explore.
Byles explained that one of the incredible things about the corridors is that eighty-five percent of the tourism product is included.
“People don’t need to just come and just stay in a hotel,” he said. “They can really enjoy the destination. And Jamaica offers so much in the attractions, diverse geographic landscape, the nature, the history, the culture. We’ve realized over the years that when people come, that’s what they want. They want to get out of the hotel, and they want to experience that. And that is the beauty of the design of the corridor – it brings that all in.”
Since reopening in June of 2020, Jamaica has continued to see a rise in tourist arrivals. Recently, on Saturday, December 11, 2021, Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay reported 7,000 arriving passengers, the most since the island’s borders were reopened.
The rise in tourist arrivals is not transitioning into a rise of positive COVID-19 cases, though, which is proof these stringent health and safety measures are working.
“When Jamaica climbed in its positivity, we found that the rate of everyone in the corridor remained at this very low rate, which is a testimony to the fact that the protocols, which are worldwide, work once they are being done in a disciplined and constructive manner,” Byles explained.
This popular tourist destination has figured out a way to invite travelers to experience the beauty of the island while also continuing to keep safety at the forefront.
One more aspect US travelers will need to keep in mind is that as of December 6, 2021, new testing requirements include showing a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of departure. Many of the hotels and resorts on the island have testing facilities conveniently onsite.
To stay up to date on the latest insights on travel to Jamaica, check out the guide below: