The Ministry of Tourism will be setting up destination assurance management committees in resort areas, which will be charged with ensuring a quality vacation experience for visitors to the island.
Portfolio Minister Edmund Bartlett said the committees will be established within the first quarter of next year in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA), Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Portland, and the south coast. They will be overseen by management boards.
Minister Bartlett was speaking at the Inaugural Tourism Policy Lecture Series held on Wednesday, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Kingston.
He said the committees will replace the Tourism Development Company (TPDCo)-operated Resort Boards, which were established in an advisory capacity and empowered to function within certain parameters.
He noted that the assurance committees will ensure high-quality standards in the delivery of the country’s tourism product.
“What we want is a more efficient and technical arrangement to ensure the destination integrity to guarantee to the visitor a safe, secure and seamless vacation,” he said.
Minister Bartlett said that the boards will be comprised of personnel who have competence in the delivery of key services at the local level.
“For example, the public-health officer in charge of sanitation, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) officer in charge of maintenance of the drains and keeping the areas pristine, the local police for safety and security,” he informed.
He said the destination assurance management committees will act as a one-stop shop that will ensure compliance with regulations by all players in the local tourism industry.
“There will be no excuse for you not to be a licensed tourism entity, not to maintain high standards and quality, because if you don’t, we are going to take away your licence and you won’t be able to function in that area,” he warned.
Minister Bartlett informed that the Ministry is in the process of building out the terms of reference and the overall policy that will guide the operation of the committees.
He pointed out that all tourism stakeholders will be involved in the initiative, including destination managers, who will form part of the TPDCo’s network of regional managers to provide support in maintaining the destination assurance.
The Tourism Policy Lecture Series was hosted by the Ministry through its Tourism Linkages Network in collaboration with the UWI Department of Government and the UWI Centre for Tourism and Policy Research.
The annual series aims to inform stakeholders about the opportunities in the sector and highlight the contributions of the industry to national development.