Jamaica made official its plans to launch a mandatory travel protection and emergency services program next month that will cost $40 per traveler, according to Edmund Bartlett, the country's minister of tourism.
Bartlett said the program, called Jamaica Cares, "delivers travel protection from the time travelers leave home until returning."
The $40 fee covers case management, transportation logistics, field rescue, evacuation and repatriation for a traveler's medical emergencies, including Covid-19, and other crises including natural disasters, such as hurricanes.
In addition, Jamaica Cares includes international health coverage up to $100,000 per visitor traveling to and from Jamaica, and on-island health coverage up to $50,000.
Jamaica-bound visitors will receive an information packet and emergency contact details as they conclude their Travel Authorization application, a document now required prior to arrival. The fee will be included as part of the application. Participation in Jamaica Cares is required for all non-Jamaican passport holders as of Nov. 1.
The program will be administered by the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre, a London-based organization that facilitates planning and preparation for crisis response issues; Bartlett is the center's founder and co-chairman.
During an online media briefing Oct. 26, Bartlett referenced a recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey that said that safety is paramount in making travel decisions and that travelers are willing to pay for services and protections for medical emergencies, including Covid-19, and door-to-door emergency coverage.
"Our mission is to rescue and restore Jamaica tourism to pre-Covid levels, restore confidence in travelers and rebuild their trust in traveling again," he said.
Jamaica has welcomed 150,000 visitors since reopening on June 15. All visitors must stay in approved accommodations within specific tourism corridors along the north and south coasts of the island.
"We've had no Covid infections of any tourists or any tourism workers since reopening," Bartlett said. "We expect that other destinations will follow this gold standard to restore travel confidence and rebuild bookings."
Jamaica Cares is supported by Global Rescue, a provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services as well as several international and national insurance companies.