Stevian Simmonds reports.

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, JHTA, says it could take another 12-months before the tourism sector rebounds to profitability seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jamaica’s borders will re-open to tourists on Monday with everyone subjected to a screening process upon re-entry, which will determine who gets tested and who’s quarantined.

Some have criticized the move saying the government is yielding to political financiers in the tourism sector.

But, JHTA President, Omar Robinson, says if the vital sector does not resume operations soon, the workers will die of starvation instead of COVID-19. 

Mr Robinson says Jamaica is tourism-dependent. 

He says hundreds of thousands of workers who’ve lost their jobs, will be brought back on a phased basis. 

But, he says Jamaicans should not expect a robustly profitable restart of the tourism sector when the borders re-open next week. 

The JHTA President says there are several factors that may discourage North Americans and Canadians from travelling at this time.