Archive for 2020 News

New Year’s Message from CTO Acting Secretary General, Neil Walters

As we look forward to the New Year, 2021, it is very timely that we pause and reflect on the year to which we bid farewell.

Certainly, 2020 was a year which highlighted many of our vulnerabilities, but more importantly, it taught us many lessons about our abilities to adapt in the face of crisis; abilities which I am sure many of us did not even know existed.

The COVID-19 pandemic crippled the economies of several countries, with the most serious effects being felt in small economies and specifically those reliant on travel and the movement of people. Indeed, these two characteristics essentially describe all the countries of the Caribbean, and consequently, from an economic standpoint, the Caribbean has been one of the hardest hit regions in the world.

Fortunately, for the most part, as a region we have been able to control the spread of the virus within our local populations. This has been achieved by the implementation of very stringent control mechanisms which have varied from state to state, and included in most instances, temporary closure of international borders.

By the last quarter of 2020, most of the countries in the Caribbean had reopened their borders and the vast majority of reopened countries had also started accepting commercial travel and visitors to their shores. In all cases, this process has been done within the parameters of protocols designed to complement the health infrastructure of the country.

The stories which depict this process of infection control and reopening of borders in the face of second and third waves of viral spread in our main source markets, speak volumes about the adaptability of our people and specifically about the travel and tourism sector in the Caribbean which has been given no choice, other than to quickly identify, learn and adapt to the changing environment we have experienced over the past 12 months.

We therefore move into 2021 armed with a new set of lessons learnt and with the proof that the Caribbean tourism sector along with its counterpart in public health has the collaborative power to restart, reenergize and rebuild tourism in the Caribbean stronger and more resilient, and ready to face the next challenge.

Experts have indicated, that based on the results of past pandemics in our history, a two-year period of recovery to return to ‘normalcy’ can be expected. Based on that prediction, we can expect ‘normal’ conditions beyond December 2021. Indeed, our concept of ‘normal’ is compounded by the view that the measures we have implemented to control the spread of the virus may stay with us for an indefinite period.

While the pandemic has threatened the Caribbean tourism sector, it has also created the opportunity for us to assess the sector and implement actions which have been difficult during the last twenty to thirty years of mass tourism. The pandemic has identified one critical common factor – the need for change, the need to think outside of the box and identify different ways of doing things. Since the falloff in tourism activity in March 2020, all tourism policy makers, destination management organizations and other tourism stakeholders have spent time critically analyzing and rethinking the way they manage tourism in their individual destinations. This has led to a spirit of greater cooperation and collaboration which was needed in the sector but which has now been clearly shown to be critical to the sector’s future and its success.

All of this has also been mirrored at the regional level, where regional stakeholders in tourism, health and general government have collaborated to create standards for the reopening of the sector and continued to collaborate in the face of an ever-changing regional and extra-regional environment.

During 2021, the programmes of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) will continue the work started in 2020 on research, product development – including heritage and community-based tourism – and human resources development – including a regional tourism sector human resources audit and training. In addition, our collaborative efforts will continue to ensure that the tourism sector works with other sectors such as health to enhance the prospects of the region as we transition to a new paradigm of normalcy.

Our collective efforts to date have positioned the Caribbean, from a global standpoint, in this pandemic, as a region which is healthy and safe for travel. It is a position which we must defend, while we make every effort to improve on the other facets of the visitor experience.

In the New Year message for 2020, we were lauding ourselves for recovering in 2019, after the 2017 hurricanes and for exceeding the world average for tourism growth. While those traditional metrics may paint a different picture this year, we in the Caribbean can still be pleased with our efforts. This time we have proven ourselves leaders, via the collaboration of tourism and public health to create protocols for the reopening of the sector.

We still cannot rest on our laurels, but continue to use the momentum created by our efforts in 2020 and the resilience of our people to rebuild the tourism sector like all other sectors to full functionality again, and buttress it against all future challenges which, although we pray otherwise, are sure to come.

On behalf of the CTO Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Board of Directors and the staff of the CTO, I want to say thank you to all of our partners and stakeholders, both regionally and internationally, for your collaborative efforts in 2020, and we look forward to further collaboration in 2021. I wish for us all a year filled with health, blessings, growth, and prosperity for this region we love.

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Travel Requirements for St. Kitts & Nevis Update #6

St. Kitts & Nevis has added a new property to the list of Travel Approved hotels for International Travelers and a new quarantine property for Nationals/Residents as the twin-island nation welcomes more visitors and returning Nationals/Residents to its shores. All other travel requirements outlined below remain unchanged and should be referred to by those planning a trip to the Federation during Phase 1 of the reopening.

Details: https://www.stkittstourism.kn/travel-requirements

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Experts to examine Caribbean tourism and economic recovery this Friday

MIAMI, Florida (December 8, 2020) – Strategies for the quick recovery of Caribbean economies from the devastation wrought by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will be discussed by regional and global stakeholders at a virtual forum hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) on Friday, December 11, 2020.

Moderated by veteran Caribbean journalist Julian Rogers, “Tourism: The Key to the Caribbean’s Economic Recovery” will bring together public and private sector leaders, the international tourism development community, members of civil society and the media to identify lessons learned from the pandemic and to address how the highly tourism-dependent region can harness the economic power of tourism to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and revitalize the region’s economies.

Panelists include Lisa Cummins, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and Chairman of CTO; Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica and Co-Chair of GTRCMC; CHTA’s CEO and Director General Frank Comito; Michel Julian, Senior Programme Officer with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); and Virginia Messina, Managing Director of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Other Caribbean leaders are expected to join the discussion.

A key goal of the forum is assessing tourism’s impact on Caribbean economies and identifying joint actions which can facilitate tourism’s recovery and strengthen the region’s economies. The forum will draw upon the thinking of the participating organizations as well as the desire of many Caribbean Heads of Government as expressed recently at a CARICOM meeting for the region to take a collaborative and comprehensive approach to stimulating and accelerating tourism’s recovery.

During the online forum, participants will examine the resilience of the sector and how the Caribbean’s dependence on tourism for economic stimulation will increase in the post-COVID future as tourism is likely to bounce back sooner and faster than other segments of the economy.

National, regional and global policy stakeholders are encouraged to attend the forum.

To reserve a space for the forum on Friday, December 11 at 10 a.m. ET, visit https://member.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com/link.asp?ymlink=648160603

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Corporate News

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Travel Requirements for St. Kitts & Nevis Update #5

Basseterre, St. Kitts (November 19, 2020) – St. Kitts & Nevis is now officially welcoming visitors to its shores. The travel requirements outlined below supersede all previously provided information and should be referred to by persons intending to travel to the Federation during Phase 1 of the reopening.

All incoming passengers to St. Kitts & Nevis are required to complete the Travel Authorization Form, which can be found at www.knatravelform.kn, prior to their arrival. International travelers must have their negative RT-PCR test and booked accommodation to complete the Travel Authorization Form required for entry. Once the form is completed and submitted, with a valid email address, it will be reviewed, and the visitor will receive an approval letter to enter the Federation.

The Federation’s phased approach for reopening outlines the specific travel requirements for travelers arriving by Air and Sea for Phase 1.

  1. Travelers arriving by Air (Private Jets, Charters and Commercial Aircraft) please note below: 
  1. International Travelers (Non-Nationals/Non-Residents)

Travelers coming from the Caribbean (including those within the “CARICOM travel bubble”), 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.knatravelform.kn) and upload an official COVID 19 RT-PCR negative test result from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEC 17025 standard, taken prior to 72 hours of travel. They should also bring a copy of the negative COVID 19 RT-PCR test for their trip.
  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 RT-PCR test (USD 150, 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 (details on available tours below).
  6. 14 days or longer: visitors will need to undergo a RT-PCR test (USD 150, visitors’ cost) on day 14, and if they test negative the traveler will be allowed to integrate into St. Kitts and Nevis.
  7. Travelers staying 7 nights or less, are required to take a RT-PCR test (USD 150, visitors’ cost) 72 hours prior to departure. The RT-PCR test will be done on the hotel property, at the nurse’s station. The Ministry of Health will advise the respective hotel, of the date and time for the traveler’s RT-PCR test before departure.  If positive before departure, the traveler will be required to stay in isolation at their cost, at their respective hotel.  If negative, travelers will proceed with departure on their respective date.

Upon arrival if a traveler’s RT-PCR test is outdated, falsified or if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 they will be required to undergo a RT-PCR test at the airport at their own cost.

Upon arrival if a traveler’s RT-PCR test is outdated, falsified or if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 they will be required to undergo a RT-PCR test at the airport at their own cost.

Approved hotels for international travelers are:

  1. Four Seasons
  2. Koi Resort, by Curio, Hilton
  3. Marriott Vacation Beach Club
  4. Paradise Beach
  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 info@stkittstourism.kn.

At this time the only tour open to International Travelers is the Kittitian Highlights tour which includes a visit to Timothy Hill overlook, the capital city of Basseterre’s historical sites and Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  1. Returning Nationals, Residents (proof of residency stamp in passport), Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) certificate holders and Work Permit Holders 

Travelers who are 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.knatravelform.kn) and upload an official COVID 19 RT-PCR negative test result from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEC 17025 standard, taken prior to 72 hours of travel. They should also bring a copy of the negative COVID 19 RT-PCR test for their trip.
  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.

Any traveler in this category 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. Returning nationals and residents may also opt to stay in pre-approved quarantine housing at their own cost, including appropriate security.

The approved accommodations are:

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

Any traveler in this category 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. 1-7 days: visitors are free to move about the hotel property, interact with other guests and partake in hotel activities.
  2. 8 -14 days: visitors will undergo a RT-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 (listed above under requirements for International Travelers).
  3. 14 days or longer: visitors will need to undergo a RT-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 
  4. In-Transit Passengers

Passengers who are in-transit at RLB Airport must observe the following requirements:

  1. Show a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result upon arrival
  2. Must wear a mask at all times
  3. Undergo a focused health screening at the airport
  4. Must remain in the airport after clearing customs 

Travelers may consult TestforTravel.com to find a lab in their area that offers RT-PCR testing that can be completed in the required 72-hour window. Please note, the traveler is responsible for confirming that the lab is a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab with ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, as results from a non-accredited laboratory will not be accepted.

The information contained on TestforTravel.com is for information purposes only. The St. Kitts Tourism Authority and Nevis Tourism Authority have no affiliation with TestforTravel.com and are not endorsing this list or the particular labs listed therein. Neither the St. Kitts & Nevis Tourism Authority nor the Nevis Tourist Authority make representations or warranties of whatever nature in respect to TestforTravel.com including, but not limited to, the accuracy or completeness of any information and facts contained therein.

  1. Travelers Arriving by Sea (Private Vessels e.g. Yachts) please note below: 

Travelers arriving via the country’s seaports must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website (www.knatravelform.kn) including evidence of a negative RT-PCR test. The test must be done 72 hours prior to departing the last port of call or conducted before departure if they are at sea longer than 3 days.
  2. The vessel will be required to dock at one of six ports, submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the port health officer and interact with other border agencies. The six ports are: The Deepwater Port, Port Zante, Christophe Harbor, New Guinea (St. Kitts Marine Works), Charlestown Pier and Long Point Port.
  3. These travelers will be processed accordingly and will vacation in place or quarantine as previously outlined. The prescribed quarantine time will be determined by the vessels or ships transit time from the last of port of call to their arrival to the Federation. Transit time must be supported by official documentation and sail clear advance notification system.
  4. Yachts and pleasure vessels over 80 feet must quarantine at Christophe Harbor in St. Kitts. Yachts and pleasure vessels less than 80 feet must quarantine at the following locations: Ballast Bay in St. Kitts, Pinney’s Beach and Gallows in Nevis. There is a fee to monitor yachts and pleasure vessels that are less than 80 feet that are in quarantine (fee to be announced later).

The CDC has 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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Dominica Revises COVID-19 Country Risk Classification

Roseau, Dominica – (November 19, 2020), The Government of Dominica has taken a responsible decision to revise the COVID-19 Country Risk Classifications for travel from the CARICOM Travel Bubble, Low, Medium and High-Risk Countries.

Effective Wednesday November 18, 2020, St. Lucia has been reclassified to the HIGH RISK classification. Travellers from St. Lucia to Dominica must submit the online health screening form available at  https://domcovid19.dominica.gov.dm/, submit a Negative PCR test where swabs were taken within 24-72 hours of arrival into Dominica.  Upon exiting the port of entry, travellers will submit to a quarantine period of up to 7 days where a PCR test is taken on day 5 after arrival and results are expected within 24-48 hours. Travellers must submit themselves to mandatory quarantine and may opt to quarantine at the Government operated facility or at a Safe in Nature Certified property under a ‘Managed Experience’.

The Safe in Nature Commitment and Managed Experiences are available to all visitors, including guests from high risk classified countries visiting Dominica. More information about the Safe in Nature Commitment and Managed Experiences and a complete listing of the risk classification of countries is available at https://discoverdominica.com/travel-advisory-for-dominica.

Discover Dominica Authority continues to work with Health Officials to ensure the safety and security of visitors to the island, and with tourism stakeholders to ensure a unique managed experience in a responsible manner.

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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