The Jamaican government is vaccinating some 30,000 tourism workers this week in an effort to prepare for a surge of visitors from North America—primarily the United States.
Edmund Bartlett, the country’s tourism minister, announced this news to local media at the Montego Bay Convention Center over the weekend, explaining that “the vast majority” of recently vaccinated residents have been tourism workers.
Vaccinations have been taking place at the Convention Center and at the Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay. Vaccination sites have also been set-up in in St Ann, Trelawny, St James and Westmoreland.
Jamaica had initially intended to vaccinate tourism workers beginning in July, but expedited those plans amid encouragement from the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA). The country is currently experiencing an increase in visitors due in large part to the growing accessibility of vaccines in the United States. According to Bartlett, some hotels are already reporting 75% occupancy rates.
As more and more people set off for vacations in Jamaica, government officials are emphasizing the importance of vaccinating tourism industry workers to protect both Jamaicans and visitors alike.
“It’s important to protect [tourism workers] and to get the market to appreciate that they are protected, but they will also be protecting those who come,” Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s health and wellness minister, said (via TravelPulse.com).