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Saint Lucia Announces Updated Travel Protocols Beginning July 9

New Protocols Include Mandatory COVID-19 Pre-Test within 7 Days of Travel, Exemptions for Visitors Traveling from Designated ‘Travel Bubble’and Pre-Arrival Online Registration

Following a reassessment of travel protocols based on market conditions, The Government of Saint Lucia will introduce several new and updated protocols for arrivals from July 9, 2020. Travelers will be required to obtain a negative PCR (Polymerized Chain Reaction) test within seven days of travel unless they are arriving from countries in the Travel Bubble designated by the Government of Saint Lucia.

Visitors traveling only from destinations that have zero or a low instance of COVID-19 cases will be exempt from the seven day pre-testing requirement. These destinations currently include Antigua, Barbuda, Aruba, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Monsterrat, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos. Visitors with a travel history from these areas in the last 14 days will also be exempt from quarantine.

Pre-Arrival Registration of Travel

All visitors and returning citizens to Saint Lucia must complete a Pre-Arrival registration form prior to arrival. Visitors can go to www.stlucia.org and click on the COVID-19 page to find a link to the form. Visitors must fill out details including proof of negative PCR testing and indicate which COVID-19 Certified hotel they will be staying in.

Returning Citizens:

All returning Saint Lucia citizens and residents must also complete the Pre-Arrival registration form as above (insert link).  On arrival, they are required to quarantine for 14 days at a pre-approved home quarantine address, Government operated quarantine facility or a COVID-19 certified property.

New Testing Protocols:

  • Pre-testing prior to travel is now mandatory. Visitors must provide a negative test result taken seven days or less before travel to Saint Lucia. This comes into effect from July 9, 2020 and will be reviewed after 30 days.
  • All arriving passengers will be screened, including temperature checks, at the airport. Any symptomatic passengers will be isolated and tested. They will be required to remain in quarantine/isolation at their hotel or Government Operated Quarantine Facility until the test result is obtained. If the test is positive they will be transferred to a treatment facility until they receive two negative test results and are clinically stable.
  • Passengers arriving with proof of a negative PCR test may be exempt from on-island testing and advance through immigration, baggage claim, customs and arrivals for transportation to their COVID-19 certified hotel, pre-approved home quarantine facility or Government Operated Quarantine Facility.
  • Anyone arriving without proof of a negative PCR test will be subject to immediate isolation and testing with possible quarantine or treatment should a passenger test positive – at their own cost. It is recommended that visitors check their local government websites to identify PCR testing locations. U.K. travelers need to check with an accredited private healthcare provider for PCR testing options.

Hotel, Accommodation and Transportation Updates

A key part of Saint Lucia’s responsible reopening is the COVID-19 compliance certification process for the accommodations sector.  To date, hotels that have received COVID-19 Certification include Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, Sandals Grande St. Lucian, Stonefield Resort Villas and Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort. Several other hotels and resorts are on track to receive certification in July. Visitors can select COVID-19 certified hotels through direct booking, tour operator or airline provider.

During Phase One, visitors can stay only at hotels that are COVID-19 Certified. Amongst the required protocols, accommodations must sanitize luggage upon check in; maintain a fully equipped nurses station; observe strict detailed sanitization protocols for housekeeping; maintain required distance with tables for dining; and have hand sanitizer stations installed throughout the property. Sanitizing stations and showers for staff must also be installed for use prior to reentering the public.

Mandatory On-Island Safety Protocols

The Government of Saint Lucia introduced its first Phase One protocols on May 18, including new health and safety rules to protect its citizens as borders opened for international travel from June 4. Since then, Government and tourism officials have continuously monitored global health updates and have assessed protocol options for reopening.

To mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 for visitors and Saint Lucian communities, all safety protocols introduced for Phase One of reopening remain in place. Visitors will be required to follow the local regulations in Saint Lucia, including the wearing of masks during on-island transportation and when in public places. Visitors are advised to also check with accommodation properties regarding individual hotel safety and wellness policies.

To keep visitors informed on the island, health and safety protocols have been reinforced with new signage at airports and other public places. That includes QR codes navigating travelers to a landing page for more information and FAQs.

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, Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Bahamas Launches “The Islands of the Bahamas” App

NASSAU, Bahamas, July 02, 2020 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s new, free mobile app provides an easy to use resource and tool for consumers planning a visit to The Islands Of The Bahamas. Key features of the app include: downloadable island guides, flight charter request processing and recommendations based on the user’s geo-location within The Bahamas. It also highlights current deals, Bahamas.com blog posts, an interactive map and suggests top activities for adventure, relaxation and romance.

Downloadable Island Guides

The Bahamas consists of 16 major islands, each offering a unique, tropical experience, from the luxury of Nassau Paradise Island to the seclusion of the Out Islands. “The Islands Of The Bahamas” mobile app features downloadable island guides for each that include details and booking resources for hotels, activities, events and transportation. They also highlight current weather and must-experience destinations and activities on each island.

 Flight Charter Request

With over 700 islands and cays, The Bahamas is a prime island hopping destination. And, with “The Islands Of The Bahamas” mobile app, it’s easier than ever to charter inter-island flights. App users select group size, where they are traveling to and from and their travel dates, which is then submitted within the app. Within 24 hours, app users will receive flight confirmation time and the total cost for the group with next steps to finalize the booking.

 Geo-location Capabilities

To support travelers’ interest in discovering local favorites and taking ownership of their itinerary, the mobile app uses geo-location to help visitors discover restaurants, activities, national parks, historical monuments and more close to them. Upon arrival in any of The Bahamas’ 16 major islands, app users can also unlock a geofencing-generated postcard to share with friends and family.

The Islands Of The Bahamas mobile app is free to download on IOS and Android devices.

ABOUT THE BAHAMAS

With over 700 islands and cays and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 55 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy fly away escape that transports travelers away from their everyday. The Islands Of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth’s most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands have to offer at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram to see why It’s Better in The Bahamas.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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BTB Prepares Industry to Welcome Back Visitors to Belize

(Belize City, Belize, June 29, 2020) –  The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) last week launched a series of virtual training sessions on the new protocols for Hotels and Restaurants. The 535 tourism stakeholders were introduced to the new protocols which focus on enhanced hotel & restaurant cleaning practices, social interactions, workplace policies and standard operating procedures, while ensuring minimal impact on the guest experience.

As Belize’s tourism industry prepares to re-open, the health, safety, and well-being of the industry, it’s employees, the wider Belizean community, and our guests are more important than ever, as we mitigate the risk of Covid-19. Travelers’ expectations have changed; Belize is proactively adapting to meet these demands while fostering confidence in the cleanliness and safety of our hotels, restaurants and other amenities.

As a follow up to last week’s introductory webinars, further training for the entire industry will be conducted in the coming weeks, which will include specialized training for managers and front line workers in the effective implementation of these new protocols. The upcoming sessions will cover topics such as Program Management, Cleaning Guidelines, and Housekeeping and Laundry Guidelines. In addition, participants will be trained on how to detect COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if an employee or guest is displaying symptoms. All these are being done in anticipation of the reopening of Belize’s international airport, to ensure that the industry is well prepared to welcome back travelers.

The complete Accommodations Protocols can be found at: https://bit.ly/3egSYlz.

 

 

 

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

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Barbados Reaches COVID-19 Milestone, Flights Resume July 12

On Friday, Prime Minister the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, announced that Barbados has reached a milestone in its fight against COVID-19. There are no more active cases of COVID-19 in Barbados, and effective July 1, 2020, all curfews will be lifted.

The Prime Minister made the announcement during a press conference at Ilaro Court, flanked by Minister of Health and Wellness, the Hon. Jeffrey Bostic; Minister of Tourism and International Transport, the Hon. Kerrie Symmonds; and Attorney General, the Hon. Dale Marshall. Mottley thanked Bostic and his team of health care workers for their hard work and dedication in leading Barbados to this breakthrough.

“This is testimony to the will, discipline and commitment of Barbadian people… the health authorities, the frontline workers, the essential services, the social partnership, the media, the police, those on the borders, all have been integral to the success we have had thus far in tackling this pandemic. And more so, each and every Bajan in every house and in every community,” Mottley said.

Other relaxed measures announced include physical distancing of three feet, social events with up to 500 patrons, and sporting events with spectators.

Commercial airspace reopens

On the heels of 35 days with no new cases, Mottley shared the good news that commercial flights will resume at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) commencing July 12, 2020 with a twice weekly Air Canada service from Pearson International on Thursdays and Saturdays. On July 18, 2020 British Airways will resume a weekly flight out of London Gatwick; and Jet Blue is tentatively set to return to the island on July 25, 2020 with four weekly flights out of JFK in New York.

“We will continue to take a risk based approach to the protection of our country, our people and our visitors,” she stressed.

Intraregional flights on Caribbean Airlines are expected to resume in mid-July 2020, while Virgin Atlantic’s weekly service from London Heathrow will return on August 1, 2020 and increase in October for the upcoming Winter season. Four days later on August 5, 2020, American Airlines will resume flights out of Miami, Florida.

Health and safety top priority

Minister Symmonds meanwhile outlined the new protocols to ensure the health and safety of both visitors and residents once flights resume.

Within 72 hours prior to departure for Barbados, all travellers from high risk countries are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test from an accredited laboratory (ISO, CAP, UKAS or equivalent). High risk countries are defined as those with more than 10,000 new cases in the prior seven days and community transmission.

Travellers from low risk countries will have up to one week prior to departure for Barbados to take their tests. Low risk countries are defined as those with less than 100 new cases in the prior seven days and not in the Community Transmission Category.

There will also be a new online Embarkation/ Disembarkation card (ED card), with personal health questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms, which travellers will be required to complete. Once all required steps are completed and supporting documents uploaded, travellers will receive a bar code via email.

On arrival in Barbados, travellers will be required to present evidence of a negative result of a PCR COVID-19 test, and bar code to clear immigration.

Travellers without a documented negative PCR test result from an accredited or recognized laboratory will be required to take a test upon arrival, and will be quarantined at their expense, pending the results. The anticipated wait period for the test results is 48 hours. If travellers fail the test, they will be placed in isolation where they will receive care from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

At the airport, other general public health protocols remain in place including wearing face masks en route to Barbados, physical distancing at three feet, and temperatures checks. 

The future of tourism

As the country gradually reopens, Symmonds shared elements of the Tourism Reboot plan, including satellite entertainment activities in the absence of a formal Crop Over Festival, and the refurbishment of the popular St. Lawrence Gap.

Prime Minister Mottley added that the country will also be encouraging travellers to choose Barbados for extended stays against the new backdrop of remote working. “We want to create an environment that will allow people to come to Barbados to work, to rest and to play from here for an extended period of time during COVID-19. Why? Because we know that this is one of the best places on earth to be and to remain because of the care we will take to protect the people of this nation and those who are here on island with us.”

More updates on Barbados’ response to COVID-19 can be found at https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/covid-19/.

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

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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

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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

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