CTO News

Archive for June, 2020

St. Kitts & Nevis Continues to be Recognized for Successfully Managing COVID-19

Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 29, 2020) – In a video appearing on their social media pages, Tripoto has included St. Kitts & Nevis in its list of “8 Countries that have Beaten CoronaVirus.”  The video states that these countries are now free of the virus with no active cases and have set an example for the rest of the world.

“It is gratifying to be recognized once again for our success in containing and controlling the spread of the virus once it was imported to our shores,” said the Hon. Lindsay F.P Grant, Minister of Tourism & Transport for St. Kitts & Nevis. “This is entirely due to the early and aggressive “All Society Approach” we took at the advisement of our medical experts including mask-wearing in public, social distancing and sanitization protocols to ensure everyone’s health and safety.”

Ms. Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, added, “Having now reported no new confirmed cases of the virus in the last 67 days, we are carefully planning for the time when it is deemed safe for people to travel internationally once again.  This new distinction of being one of just eight countries in the world that have, as the video says, ‘won the war’ against the first wave of the virus amplifies our message and helps us spread the word that St. Kitts is a safe, uncrowded and and fun boutique experience for travelers looking ahead to their long-awaited post-pandemic trips.”

The other 7 destinations included in the list were Fiji, Montenegro, the Seychelles, Papua New Guinea, Holy See (Vatican City), and East Timor. To view the video, visit Tripoto’s social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  Tripoto is a global community of travelers and platform for travelers from around the world to share and discover real, actionable, crowd-sourced travel stories and itineraries.

St. Kitts & Nevis was the last country in the Americas to confirm a case of the virus and among the first to report all cases having recovered with no deaths resulting from it. While it is the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere, the Federation has one of the highest testing rates among CARICOM nations and in the Eastern Caribbean and uses only the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which is the gold standard of testing. St. Kitts & Nevis was also recently lauded for its success in managing the virus by BBC and Sky News.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Grenada Taking a More Cautious Approach to Reopening Borders

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has announced a more cautious approach to the reopening of the country’s borders. In an address to the nation on Sunday June 28, the Prime Minister said with daily reports of increased rates of infection, especially in the US, which is a main source market for Grenada, officials will continue to work on the finalisation of protocols before the country begins to accept commercial flights.

The Prime Minister continued by saying that Health officials have tested and evaluated the protocols put in place for the protection of citizens and visitors and a number of areas have been identified for improvement. Therefore, for the immediate future, Grenada will only continue to welcome chartered flights under established protocols, which include testing before departure, testing upon arrival and agreement to bear the cost of quarantine.

According to the Grenadian leader, the Government appointed COVID Sub-Committee is expected to wrap up its work at the end of July. Thereafter, Government’s decision-making on matters such as protocols, regulations, quarantine and testing, will be guided by a National Advisory Committee. The composition of this body will be announced subsequently.

So far, the Ministry of Health and the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) have trained over 1500 Tourism stakeholders in the new health and safety protocols for the industry; creating a new way of doing business. Both entities will continue this important training industry wide.

Meantime, the Government of Grenada has been granting additional easements in the COVID-19 regulations to allow more and more businesses to operate, in keeping with established guidelines for the various sectors.  From Tuesday June 30, Grenadians will also enjoy extended freedom of movement daily, from 5am to 11pm while continuing to wear face coverings and practicing social distancing. Additionally, beaches are open to the public from 5am-5pm. Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique currently have no active cases of COVID-19 (as of June 18) with 23 total cases recorded.

The GTA with its launch of a new domestic Tourism campaign called Paradise at Home on Thursday June 25, 2020 is encouraging locals to enjoy the special offers extended by the participating accommodation sector and in turn help the sector test its new health and safety guidelines.

For further information please visit the Government of Grenada webpage at https://covid19.gov.gd/ or the Ministry of Health Facebook page at Facebook/HealthGrenada.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

National Guidelines for the Reopening of Belize’s Tourism Sector

We are pleased to share with you the National Guidelines for the Reopening of Belize’s Tourism Sector approved by the Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation. These guidelines are based on established international procedures and protocols and serve as the overarching framework applicable for the industry.

To view these guidelines, please click on the following link:

https://belizetourismboard.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Re-Imagining-Travel-in-the-New-Norm-Final.pdf

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Prepares for Phase 2 Reopening July 1

NASSAU, Bahamas, June 29, 2020 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is preparing for Phase 2 of the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, which will begin on Wednesday, July 1 and allow for the resumption of international travel to The Bahamas.

Policies and Procedures for all travellers visiting The Bahamas beginning July 1 are as follows. Plans continue to evolve in response to COVID-19 trends, and so additional guidance will be communicated as details are available.

  • Due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and in an abundance of caution for the health and safety of both travellers and residents, all incoming visitors must present a COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival. Those arriving in The Bahamas between July 1 and July 7 must present results no more than ten (10) days old. Those arriving in The Bahamas after July 7 must present results no more than seven (7) days old. Select individuals will not be required to provide a test:
    • Children under the age of two (2)
    • Children between the ages of 3-10, provided their state or county of residence does not administer tests for children under that age. Parent or guardian must provide proof of testing restriction upon arrival.
    • Private pilots who do not deplane
    • Bahamian citizens, residents and homeowners who are returning to The Bahamas from English speaking CARICOM countries
    • Bahamian citizens and legal residents who are returning to The Bahamas from countries where they cannot obtain a COVID-19 RT-PCR (Swab) Test. Proof of their inability to receive a test must be presented upon arrival and traveller will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
      • Quarantine time may be reduced if the traveller opts to take a test at their own expense and receives a negative result.
    • Bahamian citizens and legal residents who have been out of The Bahamas for less than 72 hours; however they will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
      • Quarantine time may be reduced if the traveller opts to take a COVID-19 RT-PCR (Swab) Test, at their own expense, and receives a negative result.
  • All travellers will be required to complete an electronic Health Visa prior to departure at travel.gov.bs. Each traveller will need to upload their test results and provide contact information that is crucial for contact tracing purposes. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travellers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination.
  • No quarantine will be required upon arrival, however, travellers who show symptoms of COVID-19 may be transferred to an area away from other passengers for further testing and evaluation.
  • At airports and seaports, healthcare personnel will conduct temperature screenings for all incoming visitors. Travellers will be required to wear a face mask in any situation where it is necessary to enforce physical distancing guidelines, such as when entering and transiting air and sea terminals, while navigating security and customs screenings, and at baggage claim.
    • New fines and penalties for all persons, including Bahamian residents and visitors have been established for those not wearing face masks in areas where it is required.

As part of Phase 2, hotels and vacation rentals, including Airbnb and HomeAway will open to guests. Domestic and International airlines are permitted to resume service, and many are beginning to announce plans for their return to The Bahamas:

  • Southwest will resume daily service between Baltimore and Nassau on July 1
  • JetBlue will resume daily service between New York (JFK) and Nassau as well as Fort Lauderdale and Nassau on July 2
  • Delta Airlines will be resuming its twice daily Atlanta to Nassau service July 2
  • United Airlines announced its daily Houston to Nassau and Newark to Nassau service will resume July 6 while Saturday-only Denver to Nassau service will resume July 11
  • American Airlines will resume daily flights between Charlotte and Nassau; Miami and Exuma; Miami and Eleuthera and twice daily flights between Miami and Nassau on July 7

Additional airlift resumptions are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Travellers should check with airlines directly for details on recommencement of service and any protocols for travel.

This July 1 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allows for the resumption of travel for international boaters, yachters and those traveling on private aviation as well as inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents. Phase 3, beginning July 13, allows for the reopening of attractions, excursions and tours. Phase 4, beginning July 27, allows for vendors (including straw vendors) and jet ski operators to resume operations.

Once on island, travellers should expect to follow The Bahamas’ “Healthy Traveler Campaign” that encourages both visitors and residents to continue practicing social distancing measures, regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizers, and pack appropriate PPE such as face masks, just as they would their swimsuits and sunscreen.

A Certification Agency has been established – representing a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health, and other regulatory agencies – to enforce a Clean & Pristine certification program across the islands. All tourism related, customer-facing entities in The Bahamas must verify they have in place and are adhering to the Government approved health and safety guidelines to receive Clean & Pristine certification. Adequate signage outlining policies will be clearly displayed at all locations helping to guide staff and visitors. Travellers are encouraged to visit direct business websites prior to booking or traveling to ensure they are aware and comfortable with the policies they will need to abide by. Additional details about on-island protocols can be found at www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.

Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case. For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit: www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Leave a Comment (0) →

Grenada’s Tourism Ministers Adds Her Voice to Calls for Review of Taxes on Intra-regional Travel

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (29 June, 2020) – As Caribbean countries begin to resume tourism activity as part of efforts to rebuild their economies that have been hit hard by COVID-19,  one tourism minister has called on regional leaders to take another look at taxes on air travel within the region.

Grenada’s Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, a passionate proponent of intra-regional travel, said the Caribbean market must be seen as critical to the rebuilding process.

In this context, Dr.Modeste-Curwen said, there was need for a review of the taxes on intra-Caribbean travel and how these taxes impact the desire for travel among the people of the region.

“I feel very passionate about intra-regional travel,” the minister said during the first in a series of Facebook Live question and answer sessions organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). The series, dubbed, Plain Speaking, provides CTO member countries with a platform to update the media and the general public on the reopening of their borders,

“It has been said by a number of individuals who are more familiar with the airline industry than I am, that the taxes that are charged on tickets in the region . . . kill the desire to have more inter-Caribbean travel, because the cost of a ticket to go to a nearby island sometimes is almost the same or more than going further afield like the US or otherwise, or you just have to add a little more. I think as a Caribbean region, we’ve done a lot of wonderful things together and it’s one of the things that we must keep on the table, enhancing, improving intra-Caribbean travel, and it’s one of the things maybe we as ministers should put a stronger case to our prime ministers to see what can happen,” she said.

The Grenadian minister said the Caribbean had done an “exceedingly great job” in containing the virus, enhancing its appeal as a target market for sister islands.

“And so, even though we court visitors from the global community I think we still have to look at intra-Caribbean travel. The Caribbean has been a significant source market for us, especially in certain seasonal activities like Carnival and we welcome that,” she said, while adding that the region would be included in the country’s reopening protocols.

Dr. Modeste-Curwen revealed that St. George’s had been in talks with regional carriers and other aviation entities in a bid to increase the number of seats from the Caribbean to Grenada.

“I hope soon all of us in the Caribbean can avail ourselves to those opportunities to share our beauty with our people,” she stressed.

The first minister to appear on the Plain Speaking series was Antigua and Barbuda’s Charles Fernandez, who addressed such topics as airport protocols and health and safety measures and gave a progress report on the reopening in the wake of the resumption of air service on 4 June.

He revealed that 26 per cent of room nights in Antigua and Barbuda were open, with another 10 per cent opening in July-August. An additional 32 per cent will reopen by October and the final 32 per cent will follow soon after, he said.

The Plain Speaking series continues tomorrow (Tuesday, 20 June) with Jamaica’s tourism minister, Edmund “Ed” Bartlett and Glen Beache, the chief executive officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, providing updates. To follow tomorrow’s session, please visit www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTourismOrganization.

 

 

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Belize Announces Phased Re-opening Plan for Tourism

BELIZE CITY, BELIZE (June 26, 2020) – Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Belize made the official announcement that Belize’s international airport (BZE), the Philip Goldson International Airport will be opened on August 15, 2020, as part of the country’s five-phase re-opening strategy for tourism. The opening of the international airport will kick-off Belize’s third phase of re-opening, allowing for further travel relaxation and open entry for chartered flights, private aviation and limited re-opening of international leisure travel with approved hotels only.

Enhanced health and safety protocols for hotels were also approved by the Honourable Jose Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, which serve as the foundation for the destination’s newest “Tourism Gold Standard” Recognition Program for hotels, restaurants and tour operators. This 9-point program seeks to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards by adapting new behaviours and procedures to ensure both employees and travellers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product. Some of these new standards include:

  • Hotels
    • Social distancing and the use of face masks while in public spaces
    • Online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering/booking systems
    • Hand sanitizing stations across the property
    • Enhanced room cleaning and increase sanitization of public spaces and high touch surfaces
    • Daily health checks for guests and employees
    • Designated ‘Isolation/Quarantine rooms’ for suspected Covid-19 cases and action plans for handling suspected employees or guests.

 Tours, Archaeological Sites & National Parks

    • New capacity restrictions for all tourism sites to ensure social distancing can be maintained
    • Smaller tour groups to provide a more intimate tour experience
    • Sites and Parks to manage tours by appointment to limit the number of persons on site
    • Enhanced sanitization of tour equipment

 Although limited in scope, this phased approach allows for the industry to re-open responsibly, to test new entry protocols, and to allow for adjustments as necessary to ensure the wellbeing of Belizeans and visitors. As the country re-opens for travel, Belize wants to assure travellers and residents that hotels and restaurants will be cleaner and safer than ever before.

The Travel Journey

Travelers to Belize will be comforted to know that based on proper management and containment efforts applied during the height of the pandemic, Belize was able to enjoy over 50 days of a Covid-19 free environment. Ongoing efforts will offer vacation opportunities with minimal risk of contracting Covid-19 while in Belize. In addition, with Belize having such low population density and being just a short flight away from most major US cities, the destination is well poised for post-Covid-19 travel.

All travelers to Belize will be required to adhere to health and safety measures implemented by the Government of Belize (GOB) including social distancing, hand sanitization, proper hygiene and the wearing of face masks in public spaces.

Pre-Travel Arrangements

  1. All passengers travelling to Belize will be required to download the Belize Health App and complete the required information prior to boarding the flight to Belize.  A QR code with a unique ID number will be returned to the passenger, and will be used for contact tracing while in Belize.
  2. Passengers are encouraged to take a Covid PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Belize.

As a part of the pre-travel process, the passenger should start by booking their flight and hotel. Opening of hotels will be in a phased approach, and the first grouping of hotels that will be allowed to open include properties that:

  1. have achieved the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition, and
  2. provide full service to guests.  This means that these hotels are able to provide all amenities, so as to contain the guest on the property, and minimize opportunities for guest interaction within the local community. These amenities include having transportation to offer pick-up/drop-off services from the airport; access to a restaurant on property; have a pool or access to beach front; and be able to provide isolated tours, limited to guests of the property only.

Passengers are therefore encouraged to book Gold Standard approved hotels.  A list of the Gold Standard approved hotels will be available at www.travelbelize.org in the coming weeks. 

Entry Requirements

  1. Passengers that provide certification of a negative test result from a Covid-19 PCR test done within 72 hours of travel, will be allowed immediate entry into Belize via a ‘fast track’ lane.
  2. Passengers that do not provide a negative Covid-19 test, must test upon arrival in Belize, at the passenger’s expense.  A negative test result will allow entry into Belize.
  3. Passengers who test positive for Covid-19 at the Belize International Airport will be placed in mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of fourteen (14) days at the passenger’s expense.

All visitors to Belize will be required to:

  • Wear a mask during the entire landing, deplaning and arrival process, and while inside the airport.
  • Undergo temperature checks using non-contact digital infrared thermometers or Thermal Imaging Cameras.
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines in all queues for health checks, immigration and customs inspections.
  • Follow and respond to the comprehensive, pro-active, contact tracing guidelines to facilitate appropriate and rapid response from health officials, should Covid-19 symptoms develop.
  • Utilize the sanitizing stations to sanitize hands frequently and facilitate other health screening requirements on arrival. 

At the Airport

The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) has implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols. These include:

  • installation of barriers and sneeze guards between passengers and Immigration & Customs officers;
  • hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal building to assist with proper hand hygiene;
  • floor markers placed 6 feet apart to promote social distancing and assist passengers in the queuing process;
  • sanitization of passenger luggage prior to transfer into the terminal building. 

Departure

Residents and visitors departing from Belize will also see new enhanced health and safety measures implemented.  Some of these new measures include:

  • limiting entry into the terminal building to only ticketed passengers;
  • mandatory use of face masks at all times while in the terminal building;
  • safety barriers installed at check-in counters and the Immigration area; and
  • social distancing to protect passengers.

Preparation for the return of visitation via land borders and cruising are still underway and re-opening plans will be announced at a later date. The Government of Belize, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation, and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) continue to actively monitor this very fluid situation.

For the official Government Press Release please click here.  To access the detailed health and safety protocols, we invite you to visit: https://belizetourismboard.org/belize-covid-19-update-for-travellers/.   For questions or concerns, contact the Belize Tourism Board at [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 3 123