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Archive for October, 2020

Open for Business October 31st Travel Requirements for St. Kitts & Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 31, 2020) – As St. Kitts & Nevis welcomes visitors to its shores beginning today, this update provides additional information on changes to hotel properties to be used by visitors and a link to the Travel Authorization form to be completed by all visitors.

The Federation will observe a phased reopening with specific entry and travel requirements to be observed by visitors. The travel requirements outlined here are for Phase 1 which will designate visitors into three categories:

  1. Travelers from the CARICOM Member States that are part of the “Caribbean bubble”.
  2. International travelers coming from a country or territory outside the “Caribbean bubble”.
  3. Returning Nationals (Citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis (passport holder), Residents (proof of residency stamp in passport), Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) certificate holders and Work Permit Holders.

All incoming passengers to St. Kitts & Nevis are required to complete the Travel Authorization Form, which can be found at www.travelform.gov.kn, prior to their arrival. Those coming from outside the CARICOM Bubble, must have their accommodations booked before submitting the Travel Authorization Form as your reservation information will be required to complete the form. Visitors are also required to upload proof of their negative PCR-test when completing the form. Once the form is completed and submitted, with a valid email address, it will be reviewed, and the visitor will receive approval to enter the Federation.

I. CARICOM Bubble 
Travelers from within the “Caribbean bubble” include those traveling from the following 8 CARICOM member states: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia & St. Vincent and the Grenadines (the list of states is subject to change based on the level of risk determined by the amount of positive cases per 100,000 of the population within a 14-day period). Those coming from within the “Caribbean bubble” must have resided in a “Caribbean bubble” territory for at least 21 days and must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website (www.travelform.gov.kn) and submit a negative PCR test completed within 72-hours of travel at an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.
  2. Undergo a health screening at the airport which includes a temperature check and a health questionnaire.
  3. Download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app (full details yet to be released), to be used for the first 14 days of travel or less.

The traveler will be allowed to integrate within the Federation. Travelers from the “Caribbean Bubble” can stay at private homes, condos, villas or “Travel Approved” certified hotel properties.

  1. The Hermitage Inn
  2. Hamilton Beach Villas and Spas
  3. Montpelier Plantation & Beach
  4. Golden Rock Inn
  5. Sugar Bay Club
  6. Timothy Beach Resort

II. International Travelers
The second category of travelers refers to those coming from outside of the “Caribbean bubble” including the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Africa and South America. These travelers must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website (www.travelform.gov.kn) and submit a negative PCR test completed within 72-hours of travel from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.
  2. Undergo a health screening at the airport which includes a temperature check and a health questionnaire.
  3. Download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app (full details yet to be released), to be used for the first 14 days of travel or less.
  4. 1-7 days: visitors are free to move about the hotel property, interact with other guests and partake in hotel activities.
  5. 8-14 days: visitors will undergo a PCR-test (USD 100, visitors’ cost) on day 7. If the traveler tests negative on day 8, they are allowed, through the hotel’s tour desk, to book select excursions and access select destination sites (list to be announced later).
  6. 14 days or longer: visitors will need to undergo a PCR-test (USD 100, visitors’ cost) on day 14, and if they test negative the traveler will be allowed to integrate into St. Kitts and Nevis.

Approved hotels for international travelers are:

  1. Four Seasons
  2. Koi Resort, by Curio, Hilton
  3. Marriott Vacation Beach Club
  4. Paradise Beach Nevis
  5. Park Hyatt
  6. Royal St. Kitts Hotel
  7. St. Kitts Marriott Resort

International travelers who would like to stay at private rental home or condo must stay at a property that has been pre-approved as a quarantine housing at their own cost, including security.Please submit request to [email protected].

III. Returning Nationals, Residents (proof of residency stamp in passport), Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) Certificate Holders, and Work Permit Holders
The third category of travelers refers to those returning Nationals, Residents (proof of residency stamp in passport), Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) certificate holders and Work Permit Holders).  These travelers must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website (www.travelform.gov.kn) and submit a negative PCR test completed within 72-hours of travel from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.
  2. Undergo a health screening at the airport which includes a temperature check and a health questionnaire.
  3. Download the SKN COVID-19 contact tracing mobile app (full details yet to be released), to be used for the first 14 days of travel or less.

Travelers in this category returning from a territory within the “Caribbean bubble” can stay at a private residence or a non-branded hotel. Returning nationals and residents may also opt to stay in pre-approved quarantine housing at their own cost.

Any traveler in this category who arrives from outside the “Caribbean bubble” will be allowed entry into the Federation and transported to approved accommodations, where they will stay at their cost for 14-days in quarantine. The cost for quarantine at the Government facility at OTI is USD 500.00, at Potworks it is USD 400.00, and the cost for each COVID-19 test is USD 100.00.

The approved accommodations are:

  1. Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI)
  2. Oualie Beach Resort
  3. Potworks
  4. Royals St. Kitts Hotel

Any traveler in this category arriving from outside the “Caribbean bubble” who wishes to stay in one of the seven (7) approved hotels for “Vacation in Place,” for International Travelers are required to do the following:

  • 1-7 days: visitors are free to move about the hotel property, interact with other guests and partake in hotel activities.
  • 8 -14 days: visitors will undergo a PCR-test (USD 100, visitors’ cost) on day 7. If the traveler tests negative on day 8, they are allowed, through the hotel’s tour desk, to book select excursions and access select destination sites (list to be announced later).
  • 14 days or longer: visitors will need to undergo a PCR-test (USD 100, visitors’ cost) on day 14, and if they test negative the traveler will be allowed to integrate into St. Kitts and Nevis.

 

The CDC recently assessed the Federation’s Covid-19 risk as very low and designated it as “No Travel Notice” required, having had only 19 cases of the Coronavirus, no community spread and no deaths.

Stakeholders in every sector of the industry have been trained in our health and safety protocols, which include a comprehensive system of inspection and monitoring to encourage everyone to maintain the basic standards.  Stakeholders who have participated in the training receive a certificates and business who have been inspected and meet the “Travel Approved” criteria, will receive their “Travel Approved” Seal.

Specifically, the “Travel Approved” program achieves two things:

  1. It offers “Travel Approved” training for tourism stakeholders and awards the “Travel Approved” seal to those businesses which meet, both the St. Kitts Tourism Authority and Ministry of Health inspections standards.
  2. It allows for St. Kitts and Nevis on their respective websites, to promote those business entities that have received the “Travel Approved” seal.  Those without the seal are not approved for visitors.

Visitors will also be asked to follow basic health and safety protocols of frequent handwashing and or sanitizing, physical distancing and mask wearing. Masks are required whenever the visitor is outside of their hotel room.

Travelers should regularly check the St. Kitts Tourism Authority (www.stkittstourism.kn) and Nevis Tourism Authority (www.nevisisland.com) websites for updates and information.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nothing Beats The Bahamas: Country Launches New Extended-Stay Program

NASSAU – October 29, 2020 – The days of daydreaming of paradise from your makeshift home office or classroom are over. The Islands of The Bahamas announced its new Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) program, a one-year residency permit designed to allow professionals and students to pack their laptop and their swimwear as they march to the island rhythm of their own drum, remotely, from The Bahamas.

BEATS applies to those whose workplaces and classrooms have shifted from face-to-face to virtual as COVID-19 has brought unprecedented flexibility to the traditional work from home environment. With 16 islands to choose from and plenty of breathtaking views, visitors can forget about daydreaming about a tropical vacation and start living it.

“What has always been unique about The Bahamas and even more so significant today, is that we are home to 700 islands and cays with 16 unique island destinations viable for travel,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. “This means that you can essentially choose your own work, study and play adventure. If you’re seeking serenity and seclusion, you can head to Mayaguana or San Salvador, or if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path stay, you can opt in for Grand Bahama Island, Eleuthera or Long Island. The opportunities are endless.”

Not only will visitors be encouraged to enjoy the white sand beaches, incredible blue-hued waters and delicious cuisine, but BEATS will also serve as an opportunity to explore and dive deep into the culture of The Bahamas in ways they have not experienced before.

Remote workers can “backpack” their way through the country, island-hopping throughout the length of their stay. More time allows guests to become fully immersed in the beautiful Bahamian culture as they experience the destination in a much deeper way.

Extra-Curricular Activities and “Overtime” Offerings

  • Learn new skills: Head to Long Island, home of Dean’s Blue Hole, the second deepest blue hole in the world, where the learning extends far beyond the classroom at diving school.
  • Outdoor Physical Education: Master the art of bonefishing across the flats of Andros; hike to the top of Cat Island’s Mount Alvernia, which is the highest point in The Bahamas, or snorkel through the shipwrecks of Bimini.
  • Lunch break: Your remote “cafeteria” gets a serious upgrade on New Providence, where the local Fish Fry at Arawak Cay or Potter’s Cay serves the best seafood in town.
  • Sip Sip at Happy Hour: Clock out and clock into happy hour with any of the Bahamian staples, from the Bahama Mama and Goombay Smash cocktails to a refreshing Kalik or Sands beer.
  • Make new friends at “recess”: The swimming pigs, iguanas and nurse sharks on Exuma or the flamingos on Inagua can’t wait to meet you.

“We’re thrilled for travelers to have the opportunity to enjoy a rich Bahamian experience through an extended stay with us,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation. “Simply put, a workday is better in The Bahamas. At the end of a long day of meetings or classes, you will be rewarded with breathtaking sunsets, a relaxing walk on the beach, or fresh conch salad to feed your soul. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The BEATS permit is valid up to 12 months from the date of issue. The total cost for individual professionals to apply for and obtain a BEATS permit is $1,025, while college students wishing to apply will be required to pay $525, inclusive of the application and permit fee.

For more information on BEATS, please visit www.bahamasbeats.com. To apply to be the WFH envy of your office/classroom, visit https://portal.immigration.gov.bs/.

All incoming visitors must follow all current COVID-19 government protocols in place to ensure the safety of visitors and residents of The Bahamas. Know before you go and visit Bahamas.com/travel updates for the most up-to-date information

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Tobago Leverages UNESCO Designation to Boost Tourism Development

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Wednesday October 28 2020: The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited celebrates the island’s latest achievement of obtaining UNESCO Man and the Biosphere designation, and welcomes the opportunity to leverage this milestone to develop and promote the island’s tourism product.

This programme aims to improve livelihoods in local communities, while safeguarding ecosystems. It promotes innovative approaches to the sustainable development of green and blue economies across the globe, and the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

Mr. Louis Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at TTAL stated:

“The Man and the Biosphere achievement is a welcome catalyst to spur growth in Tobago’s sustainable tourism development, which is a core focus of the Tobago Tourism Agency. It will undoubtedly auger well for our destination’s international appeal in the new era of travel, and enhances development that aligns with our brand of unspoilt, untouched and undiscovered.”

This international designation strategically aligns with TTAL’s existing environmental programmes which have been instituted in partnership with accredited global bodies. Earlier this month, TTAL acquired Blue Flag pilot status for three of Tobago’s beautiful beaches, and a week prior to that the Agency was featured on Green Key International’s website for their efforts to raise the standard and quality of sustainable products in Tobago.

Commenting on the timeliness of destination Tobago’s latest milestone in light of the ongoing pandemic, TTAL’s Director of Product Development and Destination Management Mr. Narendra Ramgulam, stated:

“This news comes at an ideal time for Tobago, as it presents a beneficial tool for economic recovery in a post-COVID era. Trends indicate that travellers will especially now be seeking out safe and clean destinations. As an approved WTTC ‘Safe Travels’ destination, Tobago has already taken the necessary steps to meet the demands of the traveler of tomorrow, and we welcome this opportunity to further enhance our appeal as an environmentally conscious destination.”

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First Winter Season 2020 TUI Flight Arrives in Saint Lucia from the UK

CASTRIES, SAINT LUCIA (October 28, 2020) – Tuesday October 27 marked the return of TUI to Saint Lucia. TUI’s winter weekly direct flights from London Gatwick to Hewanorra International Airport will run through to March 2021.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the travel company has flown to the island showing its commitment and confidence in the tourism authorities and people of Saint Lucia. By continuing to manage Covid-19 protocols, Saint Lucia has been included in TUI’s long-haul programme for 2020-21 as one of only three Caribbean destinations featured.

As Saint Lucia continues its phased responsible reopening, 182 passengers and crewmembers from the UK on TUI flight TOM24 were welcomed at 16:10 AST, with a full complement of safety protocols in place including the wearing of masks, screening at a Nurses Station, verification of travel documents and sanitizing of hands and luggage.

“We want to thank our people again for their continued commitment to maintaining our Covid-19 protocols. It’s not an easy task but it’s necessary and is one of the reasons why major travel brands such as TUI support Saint Lucia year after year, even in these most challenging times. Our international visitors have now come to understand the importance of our health measures and checks when they visit us. We know that they choose Saint Lucia because they feel safe and of course they are going to have a great time.” said Minister of Tourism Honourable Dominic Fedee.

The hotels in the TUI programme include:

  • The Royalton
  • Hideaway at Royalton
  • Mystique by Royalton
  • Rendezvous
  • Bay Gardens Hotel
  • Bay Gardens Beach Resort
  • Harbor Club
  • Bel Jou
  • Sugar Beach
  • Starfish
  • The BodyHoliday

A second weekly flight begins from 5th November from Manchester in the UK, serving the North of the country. 

Travellers to Saint Lucia are encouraged to ensure that all travel documents are on hand when at the nurses’ station, immigration, and customs in an effort to expedite screening processes.

For more information about Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 response, all protocols and details of requirements prior to entry, please visit www.stlucia.org/covid-19.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Belize Selected as a TripSavvy Editors’ Choice Award Winner

Belize City, Belize (Wednesday, October 28, 2020) – The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to share some exciting and timely news. Belize has won the 2020 TripSavvy Editors’ Choice Award for Industry Leaders. TripSavvy is one of world’s top-10 travel information sites, reaching 2 million+ travellers.

Annually, over 50 editors and writers worldwide comb through a year’s worth of ratings, reviews, and data to identify the best-of-the-best in travel around the world. However with the arrival of Covid-19, judging based on three months of business as usual for 2020 did not allow for the usual methodology to be followed. They thus focused on businesses and industries that overwhelmingly met the moment: meaningful solutions with the end goals of staying afloat, protecting their people, and making a difference during a year that’s been challenging for so many reasons.

Based on Belize’s robust measures and protocols in response to Covid-19 and the resulting editorial coverage (click here) Belize proved worthy and ultimately captured the nod of the judges. This coveted industry leader award would not have been possible without your support and commitment to Gold; we applaud you and invite you to share the news with your audiences.

 

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JAPEX – Jamaica’s Leading Tradeshow Goes Virtual for First Time

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – October 21, 2020 – For the first time in its 30 years, the 2020 edition of Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) will be held virtually. On November 9-10, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) will engage the travel trade partners, providing a distinct forum for leading suppliers of the Jamaican tourism product to meet with travel wholesalers and tour operators from all over the world.

Dubbed JAPEX Live 2020, this year’s interactive virtual platform will bring JAPEX to larger audiences than ever before. Attendees will have the chance to explore the destination’s tourism regions from afar; drop into an exclusive networking lounge and participate in online live chats while immersing themselves in destination news and information. A Prize Center designed to surprise and delight attendees with regular giveaways will round out the experience.

“JAPEX has always been a marquee event on Jamaica’s tourism calendar and we’re looking forward to another successful show,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “While we are unable to meet in-person this year, we have an exciting opportunity to engage virtually, providing access for our delegates to learn about new destination offerings, hear about how our protocols have been implemented to keep residents and visitors safe, as well as secure new deals, positively impacting and strengthening our tourist industry.”

There will be elements of a traditional tradeshow including a launch with keynote presentation by Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett. Attendees can virtually explore the tradeshow floor using an interactive Google map that will take them to the resort areas of Negril, South Coast, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Kingston and Port Antonio. Videos will auto-play to engage attendees, and exhibitor booths will be interactive, offering sharable content and chat functionality.

Other activities will include breakout and training sessions and one-on-one pre-scheduled video meetings with travel partners. The innovative scheduling software includes Instant Scheduler where users can book meetings instantly on suppliers’ calendar as well as the Auto Scheduler showing available times in both parties’ calendars. The meeting rooms are powered by ZOOM with all the functionality including video, screen share and live messaging.

To learn more about virtual experience at JAPEX Live 2020, log onto to www.japex.org. For more information on Jamaica, go to www.visitjamaica.com.

 

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