Edmund Bartlett
**FILE** Minister of Tourism of Jamaica Edmund Bartlett attends the 'Ministerial Segment' meeting held within the third UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture at Lutfi Kirdar Congress Hall in Istanbul, Turkey on December 3, 2018. (Photo by Erhan Elaldi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism along with hoteliers in Jamaica have partnered to launch a “Rediscover Jamaica” campaign as an initiative to encourage domestic tourism.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett told members of the diaspora on January 27 that this serves as one of several other innovative strategies that tourism stakeholders are implementing and which will keep the occupancy levels buoyant. The initiative provides staycation packages that allow locals to stay at various hotels at drastically reduced rates.

Addressing the monthly online program “Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks,” hosted by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks, Bartlett explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the most significant and sustained challenge to Jamaica’s tourism product since the development of the sector in the 1950s.

He said the disruption to international travel as a result of reduced confidence among travelers within important source markets such as the U.S., Canada and the U.K., has required tourism stakeholders in Jamaica find innovative strategies to keep up occupancy levels.

“As a complementary strategy to our efforts to promote domestic tourism, we have also increased our focus on another important group of Jamaicans to diversify our tourism product — Jamaicans living overseas. To this end, we are hoping to leverage the collective powers of the diaspora,” Bartlett said.

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