(CMR) Jamaica's tourism sector has received a major blow as TUI UK has decided to suspend flights to the island after the UK advised against nonessential travel due to the country's battle with COVID. Flights will be suspended until September 11.
Although Jamaica was not added to the UK's red list, the UK still warned against traveling to the country due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
The country's hospitals have reached their capacity, which has put a strain on the health services and resources; just last weekend, the country ran out of oxygen.
According to the Jamaica Gleaner, the decision by TUI comes as a shock to industry stakeholders, who were relieved on Friday when Jamaica was spared from being added to the dreaded UK travel ‘red list.'
TUI is one of the UK's largest tour operators. In July, after months of travel restrictions, TUI started operating six flights per week from the UK to Jamaica; two weekly flights from Manchester to Montego Bay on a Thursday and Sunday; three weekly flights from London Gatwick to Montego Bay operating on a Friday, Monday and Tuesday; and one weekly flight from Birmingham to Montego Bay on Saturdays.
Jamaican resorts sold by TUI include Royalton, Riu, Decameron, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara, Jewel Grande, and Azul Beach Negril.
In a statement on its website, TUI advised all its guests holidaying in Jamaica that they could continue their vacation and return to the UK on their planned flight.
“Customers will be contacted in departure-date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive or canceling and receiving a full refund,” TUI said.