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Bartlett Offers Condolences to Family of Tourism Stalwart Heinz Simonitsch

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                                                                                                           KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 20, 2020: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has expressed deep regret at the passing of the prominent Austria-born hotelier, Heinz Simonitsch, who is credited for his development of Half Moon resort in Montego Bay, St James.

“Heinz Simonitsch was a stalwart and one of the most outstanding tourism administrators, planners, and missionaries of the Caribbean. I offer my condolences to the Simonitsch family, and also extend my sympathies to his wife Elizabeth and his three children, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica,” said Minister Bartlett.

Simonitsch became the managing director of Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club in 1965, and continued in this role until his retirement in 2002. After retirement, he spent time between Jamaica and Austria, where he owned the Grandhotel Lienz, which opened in April 2009.

His contribution to the tourism industry did not go unnoticed over the years, as he was the recipient of a number of prominent awards and honours. He is a former recipient of the CHTA Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award as well as their Icon of Hospitality Award.

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Bartlett Announces Over J$2 Billion in Funding for Small Enterprises in Tourism

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KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 10, 2020: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has announced that over $J2 Billion in funding will be made available for Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs). The move, forms part of the government’s commitment to help these small tourism businesses retool and rebound amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding, which was championed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be from multilateral partners and financial institutions such as the Development Bank of Jamaica, World Bank, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, EXIM Bank and Jamaica National Group.

Speaking today at the press briefing where the announcement was made, Minister Bartlett said: “Our SMTEs have been severely displaced due to COVID-19 and have recorded economic fallout of an average of $J2.5 Million each. As part of our recovery efforts for the sector, they will play a significant role by stimulating economic activity and as such this funding of over $J2 Billion which is needed, will assist them greatly to rebuild.”

SMTEs will have access to a suite of loan facilities and grants ranging from a low as J$5 Million up to a maximum of $J30 Million.

The REDI II programme, funded by the World Bank and administered by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, will as part of the project’s COVID response, also allocate J$100 Million for Personal Protective Equipment, training, funding for monitoring officers, communication, manuals, technical capacity building and licensing for tourism and agriculture.

“These initiatives are also geared towards getting our small tourism enterprises formalized, licensed and COVID-19 compliant. Therefore, in addition to the loan offerings, TEF will be donating 500 tourism protective kits that include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitizers and touchless garbage bins. The total value of the initiative is $J20.7 Million,” added Minister Bartlett.

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Photo Caption:

KINGSTON, Jamaica; July 10, 2020: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (2nd L) examined a touchless hand sanitizer that will be part of the 500 tourism protective kits that will be distributed to SMTEs. Sharing in the moment are (from l-r) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Dr. Carey Wallace and Director of the Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald-Riley. The kits will include infrared thermometers, touchless hand sanitizers and touchless garbage bins.

For more information, contact:

Corporate Communications
Ministry of Tourism
64 Knutsford Boulevard
Kingston 5
Tel: (876) 920-4926

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Let’s Talk COVID-19 Risk Management & Workplace Protection

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St Ann’s Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica. July 16, 2020. Jamaica is poised to begin recovering some of its lost revenue from tourism as it enters its second stage of re-opening its borders to the international market. According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett “The sector reopened to visitors on June 15, 2020 and since then, has welcomed over 35,000 visitors and resident Jamaicans. It is estimated that during the month of July, Jamaica will welcome a total of 41,000 passengers (visitors and resident Jamaicans). This will result in approximately US$80 Million in earnings.”

In an effort to assist the resurgence and resilience of Jamaica’s tourism industry, Marva Hewitt, CEO, Food Hygiene Bureau (FHB) and Occupational Health & Safety Specialist has convened a virtual ZOOM webinar entitled: “COVID-19 Risk Management & Workplace Protection,” July 29, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Meeting ID: 5542825022 | Password: 7TPteP

Recently returning from assignments in the UK, Ms Hewitt has told Minister Edmund Bartlett that she is duty bound to assist Jamaica at this time with the training and compliance within the industry. Speaking in the newly minted South Coast Tourism WhatsApp group of stakeholders which was founded by Wolde Kristos, CEO, Reliable Adventures Jamaica (RAJ Tour) and includes among others Diana McIntyre-Pike, President, Countrystyle Community Tourism Network and Jason Henzel, Chairman, Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa, Hewitt said “Whilst a protocol checklist might prove of benefit to some or our hoteliers, the smaller ones (MSMTEs) may still need, as Sharon Parris-Chambers, said some degree of ‘hand holding’. I do have knowledge and experience of the COVID-19 Protocols and with my background in public health, food safety, occupational health and safety law, I have a good understanding and technical competency to ensure property compliance. I am ready to help in audit, inspections, drafting and implementation of the Protocols and ensure the systems are sustainable. I stand ready to work with you in this regard.”

The FHB Webinar is staged in association with Wellness Tourism Network, represented by Sharon Parris-Chambers, founder Caribbean Health Tourism & Spa Conference. The Network recently staged a Zoom Digital Wellness Tourism Roundtable of industry stakeholders with special guest speaker Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett on June 14, 2020. The following panelists & topics have been confirmed:  Lisa Ackerley, Hospitality Hygiene Doctor (“Risk Management & Re-opening the UK Perspective”); Snr Prof. & Research Shashi Vemuri, PJTSU, Agricultural University, India (“Risk Assessment & Food Contamination”); Dr Escoban Gonzales, Head Laboratory Services, Caribbean Public Health Agency
(“Hotel Perspective Risk assessment & Protective Gears”); Mr Clifton Reader, General Manager, Moon Palace, Ocho Rios (“A Resort Perspective on COVID19 Protocol Management”) and Sharon Parris-Chambers, Tourism Consultant, PanaCarib Business Solutions (“How to Improve Workplace Wellness”).

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Building Tourism Resilience To Thrive In The "New Normal"

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INTRODUCTION

Mr. Speaker, I rise on this my 31st occasion to address this honourable house in this critically important sectoral debate as I speak of the developments and challenges faced by one of our nation’s key industries, tourism. With COVID-19 upending the affairs of every single nation, east, and west, I must extend hearty commendation and gratitude for the leadership of Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, as he effectively steers Jamaica through the choppiest seas in our nation’s modern history. We all pray that God will continue to strengthen him in these unique times whilst we work as a team to deliver success at the end of this crisis.

 Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank:

  • Almighty God,
  • My constituents of East Central St. James,
  • Tourism sector stakeholders and the people of Jamaica,
  • My dear wife of 46 years Carmen, my son and grandchildren

Mr. Speaker, to my constituents of East Central St. James, I say thank you for your support and patience in my continued leadership of your affairs. The negative economic and social effects of COVID-19 are there for all to see.  However, we take comfort in the range of projects resulting in improved roads, greater access to water, a deepening of community development and engagement activities, especially for our youth, housing developments, urban renewal, positive developments in agricultural projects, better sports development initiatives and stronger avenues for job creation.

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