Jamaica has announced the launch of a new visitor protection and emergency service programme aimed at restoring confidence among tourists.

Jamaica Cares has been developed in partnership with crisis response specialist Global Rescue to provide health and evacuation and repatriation services for all natural disasters including Covid-19.

All visitors will be charged $40 which will provide a series of protection measures for all international arrivals to Jamaica, including cover for up to $100,000 worth of health care.

Jamaica described the initiative as a “ground breaking, first-of-its-kind” protocol that could set a template for how travel and tourism globally reacts to cope with the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

The Caribbean country has been at the forefront of efforts to improve resilience in the tourism sector having established the Global Tourism Resilience Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC).

Jamaican tourism minister Edmund Bartlett, founder and co-chairman of the centre, said:  “Jamaica Cares is a comprehensive, mandatory programme that delivers traveller protection from the time they leave home until returning.

“It is a revolutionary and ground-breaking initiative authored and driven by the GTRCMC that will safeguard and protect the Jamaican tourist product and citizens of Jamaica.”

Gloria Guevara, president and chief executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said:

“I would like to congratulate all those involved in the implementation of  the Jamaica Cares programme, which will no doubt help to restore traveller confidence and aid the recovery of the travel and tourism sector.”

Jamaica said Jamaica Cares “sets the gold standard for tourism” by combining Global Rescue’s emergency services with domestic and international travel medical insurance.

The destination believes it will give visitors the peace of mind to travel again knowing their health, wellbeing and finances are protected.

Tourists will be provided with an information pack and emergency contact details when they complete their application for permission to travel to Jamaica.

The compulsory $40 fee will be included as part of the country’s travel authorisation application on visitjamaica.com, triggering automatic participation in Jamaica Cares.

GTRCMC executive director Professor Lloyd Waller added: “Jamaica Cares honours the goals of the GTRCMC which are to assist global tourism destinations with destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods.”

Dr Taleb Rifai, GTRCMC co-chairman, said: “Travellers want to know they are better prepared in the event of a medical emergency or a natural disaster and agents and operators will see the Jamaica Cares program as the gold-standard to restore traveller confidence and rebuild bookings.”

The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, which was established by Travel Weekly parent the Jacobs Media Group, is a partner for the GTRCMC and will play a key communications and co-ordinating role for the Jamaica Cares programme.