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TTAL begins distribution of $50M tourism grant

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Thursday September 17 2020: Tobago’s tourism accommodation owners received a helping hand from the government to upgrade their properties, as the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) began distribution of a 50 million dollar Tourism Accommodation Relief Grant (TARG).

TARG was developed by the Tobago House of Assembly to ensure that the island’s tourism sector can be helped onto a pathway to wider economic and social recovery post COVID-19, with grants for eligible tourism accommodation facilities on the island.

As of Monday (September 14) payments have started, and 18 successful applications have been processed with a mixture of hotels, villas, self-catering apartments and guest houses to receive the first half of their grant allocations.

With TARG, property owners are able to access funding as categorized by their number of guestrooms, ranging from a maximum of $100,000TTD for 2-7 rooms, $300,000TTD for 8-50 rooms, $500,000TTD for 51-99 rooms, and $600,000TTD for 100 rooms or more.

TTAL received over 50 applications for the grant to date, and have been undertaking comprehensive audits of each property over the past few weeks, including physical site inspections. The grant’s comprehensive application process was developed to ensure that legitimate tourism accommodation providers can access the necessary funding to aid in their resilience and recovery during this challenging period.

TTAL’s Director of Product Development and Destination Management Mr. Narendra Ramgulam stated: “From a product development standpoint, this grant is a significant stepping stone in face-lifting and improving destination Tobago’s accommodation plant, so that we have competitive and improved products in the near future, and can continue to deliver experiences to our visitors that go beyond the ordinary.”

For more information about the Tourism Accommodation Upgrade Grant, visit the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited’s website at https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/corporate/tobago-tourism-sector-relief-grants

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bahamas Minister of Tourism Presents Forward-Looking Tourism Plan

NASSAU, Bahamas – September 7, 2020 – In a national address today, Monday, September 7, Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar announced additional details of the forward-looking recovery and reopening plan for The Islands of The Bahamas. D’Aguilar reiterated the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s commitment to revitalizing the country’s tourism industry while emphasizing that the health and wellbeing of citizens, residents and visitors of The Bahamas remain paramount.

Beginning October 15, The Bahamas will enter Phase 3 of the Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan ahead of the busy holiday season, which will include the reopening of beaches and major hotels.  

Since 1950, tourism has played an integral role in The Bahamas’ economy, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s GDP and 60% of national employment. The COVID-19 Pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on global tourism and The Bahamas’ economy has felt the impact, particularly following 2019’s record-breaking tourism numbers, where the country welcomed 7.2 million visitors. The country’s in-depth Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan outlines a strategic, phased reopening strategy to ensure a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination for both visitors and residents to enjoy.

PHASED REOPENING

As part of Phase 3, beaches and major hotels will reopen on all islands. Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar announced that all hotel guests must abide by a 14-day Vacation-In-Place (VIP), which will allow guests access to all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more. Additionally, Phase 3 will also see the reopening of attractions, excursions and tours on November 1.

Ahead of the reopening, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is working with airline partners to secure direct airlift from key markets where the curve has been flattened. Additionally, the Ministry’s communication team is prepared to commence an agile marketing campaign, complete with authentic storytelling and aggressive PR and sales strategies, leaning into current travel trends, such as the preference for vacations closer to home, as well as options that afford seclusion and outdoor pursuits.

Following the safe move into Phase 3, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation along with the Ministry of Health and other government agencies will recommend an appropriate date to enter Phase 4, which pertains to the reopening of vendors, select attractions, casinos, cruises and ferries.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

The top priority of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation remains the health and safety of its citizens, residents and visitors. In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the Ministry continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health to establish and evaluate protocols and timelines with respect to the RT-PCR testing in advance of travel.

Effective, September 1, 2020, the Bahamian government announced new entry requirements, including:

  • Approved Bahamas Health Visa available at travel.gov.bs
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than five (5) days prior to arrival
    • The only applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are:
      • Children under the age of ten (10)
      • Pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas.
  • Mandatory 14-day Vacation-In-Place (VIP) Experience at a hotel, private club or rented accommodations (like Airbnb), as well as on a private boat.

It is recommended that all travellers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their party at Bahamas.com/travelupdates before booking a trip, to determine what steps need to be taken to be granted entry. More details on the Minister’s address and the Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan may also be found at Bahamas.com/travelupdates.

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Dominica’s 2020 World Creole Music Festival Cancelled

Roseau, Dominica – (September 9, 2020)   The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, through the Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) has been monitoring the situation across the globe in relation to the spread of COVID-19.

A decision has been taken to cancel Dominica’s top signature event, the World Creole Music Festival. The event, which was carded for October 23, 24 and 25, 2020, would have been the 22nd edition. In 2019, the World Creole Music Festival recorded over 20,000 attendees and has served as a robust economic stimulant for the island.

The Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, the Honourable Denise Charles, during an interview on August 28, 2020 officially announced the cancellation of the event stating “We would have loved to have the World Creole Music Festival, but as you know these are challenging times and the health and safety of our citizens is priority and, as a result, the government has taken the responsible decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival for 2020.” Miss Charles also reminded patrons of the importance of the established protocols for COVID-19, “We have to adhere to the protocols, as a government, we cannot encourage mass gathering activities until things are under control,” the Honorable Minister asserted.

The decision to cancel the World Creole Music Festival was extremely comprehensive. The Dominica Festivals Committee engaged in thorough consultation with members of the Dominica Festivals Committee and approximately forty diverse stakeholders, all of whom have played a critical role in the implementation and success of the festival over the years. Given the current world pandemic, an assessment was done of the status of the current source markets to include Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten and by extension Europe (France, England) and North America. The analysis encompassed the number of COVID-19 active cases, boarder restrictions and overall ability of individuals to travel. It was concluded that there is much uncertainty as it relates to airline frequency and capacity, and that new protocols for travel and mass gatherings may hinder the experience for patrons significantly.  Consideration was acutely given to the fact that travelers may have less disposable income and that generally, businesses who usually invest in the event may not have funds available for sponsorship due to their own challenges related to the pandemic.

The World Creole Music Festival has increasingly met its annual objectives as a signature event in Dominica by creating awareness for the destination and, along with other signature events held annually, contributing to approximately 10% of annual stay-over arrivals in Dominica. The event records performances of over fifteen acts across the three nights and in many cases showcases up to ten different genres of music. Therefore, this decision was not easy or straightforward. Stakeholders were presented with up to four options regarding the augmentation of WCMF 2020, and the pros and cons of each option were carefully weighed. The ability of the event to fulfil its overall objectives, especially where economic activity is concerned, was given measurable consideration, hence leading to the decision to cancel.

We wish to take the opportunity to thank all patrons of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival locally, regionally, and internationally for their continued support and understanding. Look out for the next edition of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival, scheduled for October 29, 30 and 31, 2021.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

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St. Kitts Tourism Authority Links Up With Hero CPL

Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 8, 2020) – The St. Kitts Tourism Authority has linked up with the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to showcase the island as one of the premier tourism destinations in the world. St. Kitts has been unable to host Hero CPL matches this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league and the Tourism Authority are working together to showcase the support for the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots franchise while the games are played in Trinidad, while also highlighting the best of St. Kitts for fans around the world.

While the Hero CPL is not taking place in St. Kitts, the island announced it will reopen to tourism in October inviting visitors to the island paradise once again. The Hero CPL broadcast will be keeping St. Kitts at the forefront of the minds of viewers. As front-of-shirt sponsors of the home franchise and with branding and footage displayed during the games, the beauty of St. Kitts will be at the forefront of the minds of the millions of viewers who will be tuning into the first franchise T20 league to return since lockdowns around the world kicked in. Fans in the UK will also see St. Kitts as the sponsor of the broadcast coverage of CPL on Sky Sports to further excite and engage potential tourists and business travelers alike.

“St. Kitts is proud to partner with CPL to help bring people together in these unprecedented times. This year was quite different for many of us CPL fans,”said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Ports & Transport.  “For us here in the Federation we have missed the cheering from the stands of Warner Park for our very own St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots. However, we look forward to when CPL tours the islands and old and new fans can once again visit St. Kitts & Nevis and explore our ‘Hidden Gems.’

Chris Watson, Head of Marketing of Hero CPL, said: “We cannot wait to get back to St. Kitts and see some fantastic cricket at Warner Park, the venue for some of the greatest matches in the tournament’s history. While we cannot be there this year, St. Kitts remains one of the jewels of the Caribbean. We hope that Hero CPL showing people around the world how wonderful St. Kitts is to visit means that even more people get to experience its beauty.”

About St. Kitts
Where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, you will find the captivating island of St. Kitts. Step off the beaten track in this northern Leeward isle to discover an unparalleled array of activities that belies its small size. Experiences ranging from one-of-a-kind attractions such as the UNESCO recognized Brimstone Hill Fortress Park, the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger railway and Caribelle Batik factory, to the “hidden gems” including Rum Runners walking tour, roadside eateries offering authentic local fare and restaurants where fishermen grill the morning’s catch await the adventurous traveler. Hike through the rainforest to the summit of Mount Liamuiga or zipline over the lush canopy to appreciate the island’s natural beauty. Relax on the beach or venture into the water for kayaking, speedboating or a catamaran tour to Nevis. The island’s many secluded bays and coves provide a private spot for a swim or anchorage for sailing vessels and yachts. Two marinas offering state-of-the-art facilities, convenient customs & immigrations processing and services are also available for yachters. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are shopping, golf, tennis, fine dining, gaming and more. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

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CDC “No Travel Health Notice” for St. Kitts & Nevis

Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 8, 2020) – In its latest update on travel recommendations by destination, the CDC has upgraded St. Kitts & Nevis COVID-19 Risk Assessment Level as “No Travel Health Notice: COVID-19 Risk is Very Low.” This assessment classification reinforces that St. Kitts & Nevis is among the safest destinations worldwide for individuals considering travel at this time.  St. Kitts & Nevis is 1 of only 10 Caribbean countries to have this CDC classification.

“The recent assessment by the CDC is a testament to the success of our ‘All of Society Approach’ to combating the threat of COVID-19,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism & Transport. “Citizens and residents of the Federation have adhered to the health and safety protocols established by medical experts resulting in one of the lowest rates of infection in the Caribbean. Their commitment has helped us to achieve this milestone, which comes just as the Federation is preparing to reopen borders in the coming month.”

To date, the Federation has reported 17 total cases all of which have recovered and currently there are no active cases. St. Kitts & Nevis has one of the highest testing rates in CARICOM and the Eastern Caribbean and uses only the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which is the gold standard of testing.

As of August 6, 2020, the CDC replaced their global travel notice advising against all non-essential travel with destination-specific COVID-19 notices for all foreign countries providing public data classifying them into four different categories: Level 3 (high risk), Level 2 (moderate risk), Level 1 (low risk), or no THN (very low risk). St. Kitts & Nevis has been assessed at “very low risk,” thus requiring No Travel Health Notice. It is one of only 26 countries worldwide and one of only 10 Caribbean nations where the risk is categorized very low – so low that No Travel Notice is required.

The Federation announced the planned reopening of its borders earlier in August for October 2020. The reopening date along with travel requirements and protocols for visitors will be announced.

About St. Kitts 
Where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, you will find the captivating island of St. Kitts. Step off the beaten track in this northern Leeward isle to discover an unparalleled array of activities that belies its small size. Experiences ranging from one-of-a-kind attractions such as the UNESCO recognized Brimstone Hill Fortress Park, the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger railway and Caribelle Batik factory, to the “hidden gems” including Rum Runners walking tour, roadside eateries offering authentic local fare and restaurants where fishermen grill the morning’s catch await the adventurous traveler. Hike through the rainforest to the summit of Mount Liamuiga or zipline over the lush canopy to appreciate the island’s natural beauty. Relax on the beach or venture into the water for kayaking, speedboating or a catamaran tour to Nevis. The island’s many secluded bays and coves provide a private spot for a swim or anchorage for sailing vessels and yachts. Two marinas offering state-of-the-art facilities, convenient customs & immigrations processing and services are also available for yachters. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are shopping, golf, tennis, fine dining, gaming and more. For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Negative COVID-19 Test Results Required for Travel to Montserrat

Montserrat Tourism Division / Government Information Unit, Brades, Montserrat – The Government of Montserrat has expanded the pre-entry requirements for persons allowed to travel to Montserrat.
As of Sunday August 30 at 5:00am, persons traveling to Montserrat would be required to have a negative PCR COVID-19 test result, taken no earlier than seven (7) days prior to entering Montserrat. The negative PCR COVI-19 test result document must state the following:
• name, address, telephone number and email address of the laboratory which conducted the test
• the date the test was conducted
• full names, date of birth and address of the person tested for COVID-19
• the results of the PCR COVID19 test conducted in relation to that person.

The following individuals are exempted from the negative COVID-19 test requirement:
• a child aged 12 and under
• a person entering Montserrat in circumstances related to a medical evacuation
• a person who has been granted permission by the Minister to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster

Nonetheless, these individuals may be subject to screening, temperature checks and clinical examinations on entering Montserrat.
Along with the negative COVID-19 test results, all persons must still register to travel to Montserrat prior to booking their flights to Montserrat. This registration process requires persons to complete and submit the declaration form published on the government of Montserrat website www.gov.ms/register-to-travel-to-montserrat/. The form must be completed and submitted no later than three (3) days prior to booking a ticket to enter Montserrat.
The persons allowed to enter Montserrat are as follows:
• A Montserratian
• A person who holds a permit of permanent residence
• A person who ordinarily resides on Montserrat
• A person who owns a habitable house or home in Montserrat
• The dependent (husband, wife, child or other dependent) of a person who falls under the categories listed above, once he or she resided in Montserrat for any period of time prior to March 16, 2020
• A professional person who has been engaged by the Government of Montserrat, and has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat, prior to travelling to Montserrat
• A member of the crew of an aircraft or ship
• A non-resident technician, once he has been granted permission to enter Montserrat, prior to travelling to Montserrat
• A person who has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster
• Any other person, as determined by the Minister of Health, for the purpose of aiding in the suppression of COVID-19

As it relates to the third point above: “A person is ‘ordinarily resident’ in Montserrat if that person has established a regular habitual mode of life in Montserrat, the continuity of which has persisted apart from temporary or occasional absences.”
Persons entering Montserrat are required to self-quarantine for 14 days commencing on their date of entry, whether or not the person has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

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