A number of Jamaican agencies are partnering with overseas entities to cushion any serious fallout resulting from a sweeping new travel initiative from the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The Jamaican Consulate this week joined the Jamaica Tourist Board and the US Postal System in urging Jamaicans, Americans and other nationals wishing to travel to Jamaica, to have a valid passport before taking the trip.
Under a sweeping new immigration law known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and which goes into effect almost immediately, all US citizens and foreign nationals traveling by air, must provide/show a valid passport to enter or re-enter the United States for both business and vacation travel.
Most importantly, all travelers between the USA and the Caribbean, including Jamaica, will be required to carry passports starting on January 08, 2007, under a directive from the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Addressing a group of history students at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, on Wednesday evening, November 29, 2006, Consul General, Dr. Basil K. Bryan noted that the travel advisory will impact in some ways on Jamaica’s tourist industry.
In a joint presentation with City of Hartford Councilwoman, Veronica Airey-Wilson (Jamaican) on, “The Caribbean Mosaic-The Current State of Jamaica”, Dr. Bryan noted that the US continues to be the primary source of visitor arrivals and visitor spending, which showed record growth for the first nine months of this year.
Recent statistics from the US State Department conclude that more 70 percent of Americans do not have a valid passport.
Dr. Bryan said that an incentive programme was in place to encourage more Americans to obtain a passport through an accelerated program with the US Postal System.
Some fifty students participated in the discussion session organized by faculty members, Dr. Christine Grant (Jamaican) and Dr. Joan O’Mara.