Tourism industry hit hard; workers bemoan a future of uncertainty

With Jamaica’s tourism coming to basically “a screeching halt” due to coronavirus, stakeholders have been left scampering to find meaningful alternatives in what many see as “a long period of uncertainty.”

Like several other attractions in Jamaica, Dunn’s River Falls is now closed.

No one has been hit as hard as contract workers, tour guides, transport operators and freelancers, many of whom are now indefinitely out of jobs while facing an uncertain future.

“No one could have seen this coming,” said a very distraught Garfield Dussard, owner of Garfield Diving, a company that operates in Ocho Rios, Falmouth and Montego Bay.

“We don’t know what the future holds.”

— Tour guide Hainsworth Brown

“My business revolves entirely around tourism, and now with the airports and seaports closed …I basically have nowhere to turn. These are indeed the worst of times.”

Tour guides at the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, St Ann, are also facing the prospect of what some are predicting will be “a long hot and jobless summer.”

“Dunn’s River has been a major source of living for me and my family,” said tour guide Hainsworth Brown. “The facility, as well as other Urban Development Corporation (UDC) properties, are now closed, and we don’t know what the future holds.”

The cries are certainly reverberating right across the sector, and from all indications, “might get worse before it gets better.”