Jamaica will reopen its borders to travellers from the United Kingdom (UK) this weekend, after banning direct flights from that country just over four months ago.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said on Thursday that when the ban comes to an end on Friday, April 30, it will not be extended.
“On Saturday, May 1, Jamaica will reopen its borders to international visitors from the United Kingdom. This will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel,” Bartlett said.
The ban was instituted as part of the measures under Jamaica’s Disaster Risk Management Act in December 2020, in response to the spread of a COVID-19 strain in the UK, and was extended on several occasions since then.
Several countries around the globe have also been forced to institute similar travel bans as a part of their COVID-19 management measures.
However, with the global deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, there has been an increase in confidence as it relates to travel and tourism.
“Jamaica’s position at this time is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island.
“The lifting of the ban is also against the background of the improved vaccination programme in the UK and the fact that pretty close to 50 percent of UK residents have received their second dose of vaccinations,” Bartlett said.
Since reopening its borders last June, Jamaica has welcomed approximately 1.5 million visitors under the island’s robust health and safety protocols.
“The opening of the borders is important in the context of not just Jamaica’s tourism but Caribbean tourism, as so many of these countries benefit from transiting through Jamaica for British and European nationals.
“It is important also against the background of the recent call by the Caribbean Tourism Organization urging a review of the categorization of Caribbean countries by the UK; given the fact that we have the lowest death rates and highest recovery rates and exemplary COVID-19 management,” added Bartlett.