The DAFS (Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy) is being presented to Parliament for approval as a White Paper.
Destination Assurance is seen by Jamaica Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, as key to the future of Jamaica’s tourism success. “It is a promise to visitors that assures an authentic, safe and seamless vacation experience, which is respectful to the community and environment,” he stated. The strategy is the blueprint that will guide the Ministry and our partners to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery and management of quality throughout the tourism value chain.
The first set of consultations took place in Negril at two meetings on Thursday, March 23, 2023. First, with members of the Negril Destination Assurance Council, tourism stakeholders, and public and private partners at the Boardwalk Village followed by a town hall meeting with members of the public from Hanover and Westmoreland at the Negril Community Centre.
Referring to lessons taught by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Bartlett said: “We are looking at the holistic approach to tourism and a big part of it is that people travel to enable a high level of happiness and satisfaction. They go to destinations where they feel safe, secure and they have a seamless experience.”
He said approval of the White Paper “will make Jamaica the first country in the world to have a Destination Assurance Policy” and the consultation was towards that objective “because that policy can’t be promulgated without the input of you who are the players.”
Stressing that they needed to appreciate their role and responsibility in delivering on Jamaica’s brand promise, Minister Bartlett underscored, “We don’t want anyone anywhere in the world to second guess the integrity of the promise that when you come to Jamaica you will have a safe, secure, seamless vacation.”
In that vein, he said public order was critical because:
“Tourism cannot function in chaos and disorder.”
He said that everyone had a role to play, adding: “I think the country has to get to the point where we recognize the importance of public order, not just as a security requirement but as a means of enabling a stable and cohesive society where people feel free to move around, to operate without being molested and unduly disturbed by their neighbor.”
He said this was not about tourism but about Jamaicans and their neighbors having a society “in which the rules that govern how we interact are respected and maintained.”
The Destination Assurance Policy will be placing special focus on reducing instances of visitor harassment and poor solid waste management practices. With its promulgation, the Ministry of Tourism through its relevant public bodies intends to launch a program in each resort area for the re-socialization and skills upgrading of informal operators in the tourism sector and the formalization of the activities of persons who are trained and empowered with skills.
The strategic push will be supported by a strong legislative agenda, including amending the Tourist Board Act, the Travel Agency Act and their accompanying regulations. “In this way, the Government will modernize the provisions of these Acts, strengthen enforcement provisions, and improve our tourism product,” said Minister Bartlett.