Stevian Simmonds reports.

Tourism Minister, Ed Bartlett is projecting that Jamaica could receive more than one million tourists by year end, despite the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s borders are to re-open to tourists come June 15, with everyone entering subject to a screening process to determine who will be tested for COVID-19 and who is to be quarantined.

The Tourism Minister says while the pandemic has only eased a bit, the demand for Jamaica as a tourist destination, remains high.

Minister Bartlett says hundreds of thousands of people have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And he says the the nation has suffered an estimated loss of nearly 40 billion dollars, from April to March.

Mr Bartlett says he’s mindful of the concerns that the government is moving too fast in re-opening the borders to tourists.

But he’s seeking to assure Jamaicans that the move will be done safely and won’t erode the gains made in containing the pandemic.

The sector is to operate on a five-point recovery strategy, including robust health protocols, training in all sectors to manage protocols, protective gears for all, communication with local and international markets about reopening and a staggered approach to reopening, which manages risk in a structured way.

The Tourism Minister is also expressing optimism in projections for tourist arrivals for the rest of the year.

And Director of Tourism Donovan White, says the demand for Jamaica as a tourist destination remains high.

‘Tourism Resorts Must Be COVID- ready’

And Minister Bartlett says all tourist accommodations must be equipped with adequate resources, including isolation areas to facilitate COVID-19 positive cases.

He appealed to tourism workers not to lose their warmth.

Ed Bartlett, Tourism Minister, speaking today at a digital media conference.