The Tourism Development Company Limited (TPDCo) is reminding owners and operators of tourism entities that it is illegal to operate without being licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).
License Processing Administration Manager at TPDCo, Sheryll Lewis, said that several tourism entities are operating in contravention of the law, which is a breach of the JTB Act (1955).
“You can be prosecuted. The police will serve you a summons if you are found in breach of the law. You will go to court and…you could be found guilty, and you will pay the requisite fine,” she said.
“Under the JTB Act, persons are required, once they’re operating a tourism entity for example, a hotel, villa, guest house, watersports and attraction; if you are a contract carriage operator or a craft trader in one of the designated markets, then you’re required to have a JTB licence,” she pointed out.
To improve compliance, Ms. Lewis said the TPDCo is hosting a series of registration drives dubbed: ‘Bring Your Application Day’ at resort areas island-wide to facilitate on-the-spot licensing of tourism businesses.
The second in the series of events was held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James on Thursday (June 2), where scores of tourism entrepreneurs turned out to register their businesses, as well as seek information about the licensing process.
“Another objective was to [link them with] the agencies that they will be required to get a permit or a certificate from,” Ms. Lewis noted.
These include the municipal corporations, the fire department; the public health authorities, insurance brokers, the National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.
Ms., Lewis told JIS News that individuals were also able to sign up for the Tourism Workers Pension Scheme, which covers all workers in the sector, ages 18-59 years, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.
The next staging of the TPDCo registration drives will be held on June 14 at the Rayon Hotel in Negril, Westmoreland then move to the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on June 24. This will be followed by a staging at Breds, Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth on July 12.
Meanwhile, Accountant at the Montego Bay Marine Park, Antoinette Green, who attended Thursday’s registration event to begin the process of applying for a JTB water sports license, welcomed the initiative.
“It was very beneficial as there are some documents that I had already gathered but there were others that I didn’t have. There were uncertainties as well that were cleared up by speaking to the persons on spot, so I am now confident in preparing the documentation necessary for the process,” she told JIS News.
Administrative Assistant at Tryall Club in Hanover, Mary Campbell, said the event made it easier to complete the licensing process.
“I am here to get some of our entities licensed as some of them have been outstanding for some time… It [the event] is important for the villas to get licensed especially for the website information. When guests are booking, they need to see that the villas on the website [are licensed],” she said.