How assured are travel advisors in selling their shoppers on the Covid-19 health and basic safety protocols touted by Caribbean resorts?
I requested two journey advisors this issue. The two had lately returned from a fam journey for a pick group of advisors from the southeastern U.S. hosted by the Jamaica Vacationer Board to resorts and attractions in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
The 5-day fam, Jan. 13 to 19, kicked off JTB’s fam vacation calendar for the initial quarter, which specific prime journey professionals from various marketplaces in the U.S. and is 1 of lots of initiatives to support travel purchaser confidence in journey to Jamaica for the duration of these at any time-modifying moments. The agents ended up on the ground in Jamaica when the CDC announced the testing polices for vacationers getting into or returning to the U.S.
Equally Jenn Welsh, travel advisor with Excursion and Sip in Raleigh, N.C., and Lauren Rubin, owner of All About Vacation in Sandy Shores, a suburb of Atlanta, had been standing in the lobby of the Moon Palace Jamaica with the relaxation of the group of travel advisors when they heard the news.
“The managing director Clifton Reader was detailing the resort’s protocols when we all initially heard about the CDC’s new regulation,” Rubin said.
“He reassured us that the vacation resort could cope with the new tests prerequisite and then went on to clarify all the protocols that were by now in put,” she said.
The Covid-tests regulation took result Feb. 26, many times after the fam journey ended, but considering the fact that it would have an influence on potential journey to the islands, it grew to become a incredibly hot subject for all of the team.
“We attained out to our purchasers who were booked to return following Jan. 26 to permit them know what was heading on and to reassure them that the resorts they had booked experienced testing facilities,” Welsh explained.
The fam team invested two nights at the Moon Palace and saw for on their own the resort’s adherence to the protocols.
“I hardly ever felt safer,” Rubin reported. “The staff members was cleansing all the time. The door to my space experienced a sticker on it, verifying that it had been cleaned 24 hours earlier and no a person experienced been in the space since then.
“They gave us hand sanitizers, wipes and gloves,” Welsh explained. “All paper products had been removed from the room. Personnel and visitors wore masks, and when we dined we all experienced masks on other than when we ate. Tables ended up spaced aside, at the buffet we pointed to what we wished and it was served to us.”
They identified protocols to be identical in all the resorts they visited, like Partners Tower Isle and Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, the new all-inclusive, grown ups-only Ocean Coral Spring in Trelawny and the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara in Montego Bay.
The previous two evenings ended up expended at the Iberostar Grand Rose Corridor in Montego Bay. Welsh prolonged her remain and put in two evenings at Sandals Royal Caribbean.
“I took a picture there of a signal I observed that examine ‘Masks On, Problems Off.’ Sandals was busier than the other resorts I saw, additional vacationers, all from the U.S. and all were being so excited to be there. For quite a few it was their first vacation considering that Covid,” she explained.
Occupancies ended up quite low at most of the resorts they frequented, help you save for Sandals which was jogging in the 40% variety, according to Welsh.
“Neighborhood Jamaicans had been getting advantage of lower rates and promotions at some of the resorts,” Rubin claimed.
Masks were obligatory at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, even on the well-known bobsled journey, and during their river rafting journey on the Martha Brae.
Welsh does a whole lot of marriage and honeymoon business and has quite a few weddings booked this spring.
“I’ve experienced no cancellations so considerably. Tons of calls, largely concerning the new screening regulation and thoughts about obtaining trapped if they test beneficial just before returning to the U.S.,” Welsh mentioned. “I discussed the quarantine regulations and what the different resorts have in position in scenario a guest has to quarantine just before leaving the island.”
Rubin experienced already accomplished some touring during Covid. In 2020 she took her family to the Riviera Maya, to the Dominican Republic, the western U.S. and New York Metropolis.
“We adopted all protocols. My kids bought examined for each journey, and we felt safe and sound at each place and vacation resort,” she said.
Welsh self-quarantined for a several times soon after returning from Jamaica and then received a Covid check just to be absolutely sure. She tested detrimental.
Equally advisors gave the fam vacation substantial marks. “Till I get my feet on the floor, I will not know how risk-free the resort or location definitely are. It was seriously important for me to be in Jamaica and see for myself,” Rubin reported.
“I can certainly promote Jamaica with self-confidence,” she extra.
Welsh agreed and claimed that the other 6 advisors on the vacation felt the exact same way.
Tamara Christie, JTB organization advancement officer who hosted the travel specialists, described them as “among the our top rated producers in the Southeast who have accomplished a excellent task in advertising Jamaica. “The fam was intended to give them a firsthand encounter of the destination’s protection protocols,” she reported.
JTB’s future fam trip will deliver an additional team of agents to the resort parts of Negril and Montego Bay March 29 to April 2.