Archive for 2021 News

St. Kitts Celebrates Viking Orion’s Inaugural Call

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 25, 2021) – St. Kitts & Nevis today celebrates the inaugural call of the Viking Orion, an ultra-luxury ship from Viking Ocean Cruises, a division of Viking Cruises. Officially a stop on their winter 2021/2022 schedule, the Viking Orion will call 10 times to St. Kitts Winter 2021/20-22 season. This is the fourth vessel to call since the restart of the cruise sector and the first inaugural call of the 2021/2011 season. Viking Ocean Cruises is the largest luxury cruise line and was voted the #1 Ocean Line in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Viking Cruises came to St. Kitts for the first time in the 2016-17 Season, with the Viking Sea.  Since then, the Viking Sky, Viking Star and Viking Sun have visited St. Kitts.  Welcoming the Inaugural call of the Viking Orion is significant in the global pandemic, as cruise tourism rebuilds globally. The Honourable Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports, said, “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Viking Orion today. This visit is symbolic of the continued relationship between Viking Cruises and St. Kitts, it demonstrates Viking’s confidence in St. Kitts the destination.  The restart of cruise globally requires all of us in the Federation to their part so old and new cruise visitors can experience our one-of-a-kind attractions, dynamic culture, rich history, simply the authentic Caribbean.

While in port, passengers will have their choice of distinctive, “Travel-Approved” excursions to engage their sense of wander, including the historic and one-of-a kind Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park, Caribelle Batik, where the hot wax method of making batik cloth is still used or the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, the last and only passenger railway in the West Indies.  Passengers can also enjoy and wander along one of our beautiful beaches, South Friars or Carambola Beach Club, tour a fully restored French Plantation house at Fairview Great House or enjoy the tropical gardens at Palms Court Gardens.  Visitors can also wander freely in Port Zante and enjoy the local art and crafts from the Amina Craft Market and Black Rocks vendors or visit the retail stores, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants offering local, Caribbean and International dishes.

“We want to thank Viking Cruises for their valued partnership and for including St. Kitts & Nevis on the itinerary of the Viking Orion’s inaugural season,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. While St. Kitts has often been a destination for inaugural vessels, this visit is exceptionally significant at a time when the cruise lines and the destinations are working together to rebuild the sector in the wake of the global pandemic.  We look forward to having Viking Cruises back and look forward to our ongoing partnership for many years to come.

The Viking Orion is sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, Port Everglades on a 14-day cruise itinerary on which St. Kitts is the third (3rd) day.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bartlett in Talks With Emirates Airlines to Introduce Special Flight to Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica; October 25, 2021: Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has revealed that he has initiated discussions with top representatives of Emirates Airlines, with the aim of introducing a unique flight between Dubai and Jamaica early next year. The announcement comes as the Minister concluded marketing activities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday, with a crucial meeting with senior executives of Emirates Airlines at their Dubai Headquarters.

A major element of the wide-ranging discussion was the possibility of introducing a special service between Dubai and Jamaica, in celebration of Jamaica Day at Expo 2020, Dubai in February 2022. “We agreed to explore the feasibility of arranging this flight, details of which are to be worked out as soon as possible. There was also a productive discussion around tourism and airline recovery prospects and the positive V-shape pattern being experienced by Jamaica and Dubai,” said Bartlett.

He anticipates further discussions in the context of multi-destination strategies being formulated in the northern Caribbean to enable a more fulsome engagement of the Emirates and other partners in the Middle East. Emirates is the largest airline in the UAE, and the Middle East overall, operating over 3,600 flights per week.

While in the UAE, Minister Bartlett and his team also met with the country’s Tourism Authority to discuss collaboration on tourism investment from the region; Middle East tourism initiatives; and gateway access for North Africa and Asia and facilitation of airlift. There were also meetings with executives of EMAAR, arguably the largest and most prestigious hospitality and Real Estate/Community developer in the Middle East; DP World, one of the world’s largest port and marine logistics companies; DNATA, the single largest tour operator in the UAE and TRACT, a powerful tour operator in India.

“The round of marketing activities my team and I had with the key tourism and logistics partners in the UAE, were very fruitful.  This will undoubtedly result in the process of securing new investments, markets and gateways from the Middle East, Asia/Asia Minor and Africa to Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean,” Minister Bartlett explained.

From the UAE, Minister Bartlett will head to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he will speak at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII). This year’s FII will include in-depth conversations about new global investment opportunities, analysis of industry trends, and unparalleled networking among CEOs, world leaders, and experts.

He will be joined by Senator, Hon. Aubyn Hill in his capacity as Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), with responsibility for Water, Land, Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs), the Special Economic Zone Authority of Jamaica and special projects.

Minister Bartlett will return to the island on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

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Jamaica Announces Enhanced Pre-Departure Testing Services for Canadian Travellers

KINGSTON, JAMAICA – October 25, 2021 – Canadians travelling to Jamaica will now benefit from more accessible and affordable PCR testing services while in the destination thanks to the continued lobbying efforts of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB). Jamaican officials have partnered with two private laboratories on the island to provide Canadian residents returning home with access to seamless in-hotel PCR tests at a discounted rate.

Starting Monday, October 25, Canadian visitors will be able to book their required pre-departure COVID-19 molecular test directly through Baywest Wellness Clinic and Technological Solutions Limited (TSL) for $75 USD (inclusive of taxes), a reduction of more than 50% off the previous PCR testing price. Visitors must schedule their test through a dedicated online laboratory portal in order to qualify for this exclusive rate.

Tourists staying at a licensed hotel in Jamaica’s Resilient Corridors and other approved accommodations can schedule a PCR test to be conducted on property via a convenient concierge service. Visitors staying in a private villa, guest house, or residence can book an in-person appointment at the closest Baywest or TSL laboratory location. Travel agents will also be able to book PCR testing on behalf of their clients in advance.

“Jamaica’s new in-hotel PCR testing and reduced pricing will be a game-changer for Canadian travellers visiting the destination,” remarked Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett. “This effort is the latest initiative in our ongoing Jamaica CARES program, a comprehensive destination-wide commitment to providing all travellers with a safe and seamless experience while visiting our beautiful island.”

“The upcoming fall and winter seasons are critical for Jamaica’s tourism sector, and the JTB is proud to have negotiated improved COVID-19 testing options for Canadian travellers on island,” said Donovan White, Director of Tourism, Jamaica. “All of our partners in Jamaica and Canada are very appreciative that visitors in the destination will now have access to sophisticated PCR testing in the comfort of their hotel at a heavily discounted rate.”

Canadians travelling to Jamaica can book PCR tests online prior to departure or while in the destination through these two dedicated booking platforms:

The online platforms capture all the necessary information required to re-enter Canada, including travel dates and the location of the test. Payment for the service will be processed online at the time of booking via credit card. Test results from Baywest and TSL will be emailed directly to clients 24- to 48-hours following the sample collection.

“The JTB has been working very hard to collaborate with the country’s accredited laboratories to facilitate more accessible and affordable testing for our Canadian visitors,” said Angella Bennett, Regional Director, Canada, Jamaica Tourist Board. “We are very excited to bring this long-awaited enhanced service to the market and make travelling to Jamaica even more seamless for Canadians this winter.”

As per Canada’s current re entry travel guidelines, all passengers aged five and up regardless of vaccination status must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result to enter the country. Valid tests must be performed within 72 hours of their scheduled flight departure time.

For more information about Jamaica’s current entry protocols and testing services for Canadian travellers, go to visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Anguilla Announces Winter Season Entry Protocols

The Valley, Anguilla, October 22, 2021:  H.E The Governor and the Hon. Premier of Anguilla have outlined the updated entry protocol requirements for visitors which will come into effect on Monday, November 1st, 2021.

Pre-arrival requirements:

  • All visitors 18 years and older must be fully vaccinated to be allowed entry into Anguilla; pregnant women are exempt from this requirement.  The definition of “fully vaccinated” is three (3) weeks or twenty-one (21) days after the second dose of vaccine.  Mixed vaccines are accepted but they must be a variation of Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna.
  • Travelers must apply for Entry Permission at www.ivisitanguilla.com; the application for entry will include an arrival testing fee of US$50 per person.
  • A negative Covid-19 test will still be required, but the test must now be taken no less than 2 – 5 days prior to arrival.

Acceptable test types are:

  • Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests (RT-PCR)
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification tests (NAA)
  • RNA or molecular test
  • Antigen tests completed via a nasopharyngeal swab
  • The laboratory that processes the pre-arrival test must be accredited.  Self-administered and antibody tests will not be accepted.

On Arrival Requirements:

  •  All guests are tested on arrival and will be required to stay in place at their hotel, licensed villa or other rental accommodations while the test is processed (usually within 24 hours).
  •  If the test result is negative, there will be no quarantine requirement.  Guests are free to explore the island on their own.
  • Guests staying on island for more than 8 days may be tested on Day 4 of their visit, at no additional cost.

Applications will not be accepted later than 12:00 PM EST the day before the day of arrival. For assistance with the travel application portal visitors may email [email protected] (please allow up to 12 hours for a reply); or call 1-264-584-2710, or 1-264-497-5666 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM EST.

Guests are asked to adhere to and respect the COVID-19 protocols of establishments on island, which include wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces; always maintaining social distancing of a least 3 feet between people in indoor settings; and observing proper hygiene with frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer.

Anguilla’s Health Authorities have secured the Pfizer vaccine to extend the on-island vaccination program to:

  • All 12 – 17-year-olds
  • Those who have yet to be vaccinated
  • Booster shots for those who have already been vaccinated with the Astra Zeneca vaccine (approximately 60% of the local adult population)

For more detailed information on Anguilla’s travel protocols please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com/escape; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficialYouTube; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Caribbean Tourism Month 2021 Message from the CTO

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26 Oct. 2021) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) joins our member countries, allied and affiliate members and Caribbean tourism interests in celebrating Caribbean Tourism Month in November, reaffirming our purpose of Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. This year’s theme is, Caribbean Comeback.

It’s a theme that illustrates that as a region, we are on our way back from the devastating impact of the pandemic. Our member countries have worked tirelessly over the past 19 months to adapt to the ever-evolving environment thrust upon us by the pandemic. They have implemented a range of initiatives, and stringent protocols, to ensure post-Covid competitiveness and to rebuild confidence in the sector. One of the very positive signs of recovery, is that as the markets reopen, the region is welcoming an increasing number of flights, including direct service to destinations that are either never had such service before, or have not had direct service for several years.

In the third quarter, some of our member destinations recorded arrival numbers that rivalled, and in some instances, surpassed, the corresponding months in 2019. This by no means suggests that we are back to the pre-pandemic record numbers, and we remain fully aware of how quickly things can change with this virus. But it’s an encouraging sign that the Caribbean comeback is on.

The theme is also an invitation to visitors to come back to the Caribbean. Come back to the Caribbean that you love and are familiar with, to enjoy again everything that first attracted you to our region. Come back for the warm weather, the cuisine, the outdoors, the culture, the sunsets, the adventure. Come back for weddings and honeymoons, for hiking, the beach, the lakes and waterfalls, the flora and fauna and the friendly and welcoming people.

The CTO, in conjunction with our members, has planned a number of social media activities in observance of Caribbean Tourism Month, including a #CaribbeanComeback campaign. We encourage all of you to participate and to share the hashtag as widely as possible.

In addition to all of these enticing attributes which we invite you to come back to enjoy, we also wish to emphasise the Caribbean’s appeal as a region for wellness, healing and rejuvenation. In this regard, we wish to announce that 2022 will be the year of wellness in the Caribbean. As we grapple with the mental and physical toll that COVID-19 has had on us and its effect on our well-being, we offer the Caribbean as the place to come back to for wellness.

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