No fallout in Jamaican tourism from state of emergency
By Claudia Gardner
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Chairman of Jamaica’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Godfrey Dyer, says he does not expect any fallout in tourist arrivals from the state of public emergency in St James.
He said that most people would have already made their bookings to visit the island, and they will not easily change their plans.
“I felt it would not really affect us that much, if any, because we are in the middle of the winter season. Most people coming over the next two to three months are booked already, and they weren’t going to change their minds that easily,” he said.
Dyer said the thousands of tourists who are currently enjoying themselves in the island will, through word of mouth, counter any negative impressions regarding the state of emergency.
“If you walk along the Elegant Corridor and the Hip Strip, you wouldn’t know that anything is going on like a state of emergency. Life is normal, the same way,” he noted.
“The same set of tourists who are here now, when they go back, are going to help us because they are going to report that they have not seen anything different. And I am sure we are going to see some drastic reduction in murders in St James over the next few days, few weeks,” he said.
Dyer, who is a veteran hotelier, said the presence of Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers in the Montego Bay resort area has been welcomed by the stakeholders.
“One of the things I am expecting is that if this turns out to be effective, over the next month, I think it is going to have some positive effect on the rest of the island where we are having problems; I just feel it will,” he added.
The TEF chairman said the constant monitoring by the Jamaica Tourist Board, the ministry of tourism, the overseas-based public relations companies, coupled with the support of Jamaica’s huge number of repeat visitors, which stands at 42 per cent, will also serve to counter any fallout.
“They (repeat guests) would have seen our ups and downs. Nothing is going to stop them,” he declared.
Photo: Tourists and residents relax along Sunset Beach in Montego Bay on Friday, January 19, a day after the state of public emergency was announced. Photo: Claudia Gardner