Jamaica’s tourist sector has been dealt a major blow with the United Kingdom restricting all non-essential travel to the island based on the COVID risks.
The decision comes as a shock to industry stakeholders, who were relieved on Friday when Jamaica was spared from being added to the dreaded travel ‘red list’.
The UK has introduced a ‘traffic light’ and travel certification system, which sees travellers categorised in green, amber or red, depending on the level of risk in the destinations from which they are travelling.
Travellers arriving from red-list countries are placed under greater restrictions, including a 10-day quarantine and £2000 hotel stay on their arrival in the UK.
The latest development has seen TUI, one of UK’s largest tour operators cancelling all flights to Jamaica until September 11.
Jamaican resorts sold by TUI include Royalton, Riu, Decameron, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara, Jewel Grande and Azul Beach Negril.
In a statement on its website, TUI advised all its guests holidaying in Jamaica that they could continue their vacation and return to the UK on their planned flight.
“Customers will be contacted in departure-date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.”
Yesterday, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett credited the resilient corridor as the single most important safety feature of destination Jamaica.
The resilient corridor initiative spans several hotels on the North and South Coast which must institute rigorous sanitation and other COVID containment measures.
Meanwhile, the latest UK travel development is likely to affect tourism workers and suppliers.
So far, one hotel has lost up to 25 per cent (4,500 room nights).