Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has announced an end-to-end insurance programme for tourists travelling to the country. During a virtual press conference yesterday, Bartlett said that the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC)
has signed an agreement with Global Rescue for the implementation of the programme which is set to be officially launched mid-November.
According to Minister Bartlett, the initiative is a “first of its kind in the world” offering end-to-end health coverage in this way. It comprises two components: An all-hazard and a COVID-19 programme aimed at providing travel protection and emergency services to tourists coming into the island, as well as to ensure the safety and protection of workers in the tourism sector and, by extension Jamaican citizens.
“The Jamaica Cares Programme represents another prong in our COVID resilience and has been designed very specifically and very deliberately. The programme protocol will ensure our ability to welcome travellers to Jamaica safely, knowing that in the worst-case scenario, they will be treated to the gold standards of care and service by building an alliance that looks at the travel experience to Jamaica and back home again,” Bartlett said.
“If an unexpected medical emergency occurs, this programme has identified precisely the components that ensure the best possible outcome for the traveller,” he added.
Noting the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, Minister Bartlett said that “as thought leaders, Jamaica is practically taking a vital role in recovering and rebuilding the spirit of travel by restoring the trust and confidence of travellers to our destination. Today is tangible evidence of Jamaica and the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre resolve to ensure resilience in this new COVID pandemic world. In times of crisis we see innovation, new procedures like the COVID-19 protocols and the resilient corridor Jamaica has led the world in establishing.”
Minister Bartlett pointed out that the coronavirus resilient corridor is an important and effective component that gives the country the ability to manage and track the movement of tourists, while enabling them to enjoy the tourism activities.
Jamaica has welcomed 150,000 visitors since it opened its borders on June 15.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Global Rescue, Dan Richards, commended both the Minister of Tourism, President of GTRCMC and Professor Dr. Lloyd Waller, for having the innovative vision to create the programme.
“What we’ve done is to build an end-to-end solution for tourists going to Jamaica to get peace of mind. People need to feel confident that their safety and well-being is being taken care of during this current crisis and beyond, and that is exactly what the Jamaica Cares Programme is all about,” Richards stated.
The Programme will comprise of field rescue, emergency transport advisory, and oversight services from the personnel at Global Rescue and its partners at the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations, explained Richards. He added that arrangements with Jamaican hospitals are being established for provision of local care.
Richards said that the all-hazards programme will include evacuation, logistics and response for all tourists in need of medical and crisis support for big and small emergencies, including mass crisis support for large events like natural disasters, terrorism and other significant systemic type crises.
The Programme will also consist of testing and triage for symptomatic travellers’ treatment and associated care in Jamaica which includes up to $50,000 medical insurance coverage.
There will also be access to Global Rescue personnel in Jamaica for immediate response, and up to $100,000 of international medical coverage which include medical costs that are incurred during travel home, repatriation and evacuation operations.
Non-Jamaican passport holders will be charged a mandatory fee of US$40 to support the work at the Jamaica Operations Centre (JOC).
JOC, which will be based in Montego Bay, St. James, will have capacity to employ up to 80 medical crisis response personnel.