Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett announced that the country plans to require travelers to the island to buy a mandatory travel protection and emergency services plan. The plan, which is called “Jamaica Cares” will cost each traveler $40 to cover case management, transportation logistics, evacuation, field rescue, and repatriation in the event of any medical emergencies that may arise during their visit. These emergencies include natural disasters like hurricanes and COVID-19. The plan provides up to $100,000 of international health coverage for a visitor who is traveling to and from the island and on-island health coverage up to $50,000.
Travelers to Jamaica will be provided with an information packet and details of emergency contacts when they finish applying for a Travel Authorization document that they must obtain before arriving in the country. The $40 fee will be included as part of the application. All non-Jamaican passport holders must participate in the “Jamaica Cares” program starting on November 1, 2020.
“Jamaica Cares” is basically a “public-private” insurance plan. It represents a partnership between the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Center and two private insurance firms. The Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Center is based in London and was founded by Bartlett, who also serves as its co-chair, The Center helps to plan and prepare for crisis response matters.
Travelers have shown their willingness to pay for greater safety protections, according to an international travel survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers. The survey found that safety is the chief consideration when making travel decisions that require payment from consumers. Over 90 percent of 2,200 frequent travelers surveyed said they would “feel safer” if they had protection and services for medical emergencies, including COVID-19.
According to Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, is emergency situations arise, including those relating to COVID-19, the plan will support authorities in Jamaica as they put established emergency responses into action. These include access to case management, transport logistics, evacuation, and repatriation for any medical emergency, including COVID-19. Additionally, it will provide monitoring from diagnosis through the repatriation of visitors.
Bartlett believes that “Jamaica Cares” will fill a thus-far unmet need in the travel industry by providing primary health care coverage and medical evacuation services to travelers. With the program, travelers know they and other travelers are protected, so they have confidence when they make the travel decisions.
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