Archive for Destination News

Belize Tourism Board Announces New Safe Travel Requirements

In an effort to further protect the health and wellbeing of international visitors and Belizeans from COVID-19, Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the official tourism organization for Belize, has released new safe travel standards for any persons entering the country. Effective Feb. 15, 2022, all visitors are required to apply for Belize Travel Health Insurance – a mandatory insurance that helps protect travelers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses, if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Belize.

The cost of the policy is $18 USD and provides coverage for up to $50,000 USD in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days. This insurance plan will come online under the country’s public health regulations and provide cover for lodging expenses due to quarantine up to $2,000 USD (max $300/day USD). Travelers will also be covered for emergency assistance services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, it covers trip cancellations and expenses incurred by COVID-19 positive travelers for extended stays.

Some important entry highlights are listed below:

  • It is recommended that travelers purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance prior to their travel to Belize. However, purchases can be made upon arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport or at Belize’s land borders.
  • Visitors must purchase Belize Travel Health Insurance and are required to complete the Customs and Immigration form that is provided on all flights to Belize.
  • Exempted from this mandatory insurance are Belizean nationals, permanent residents and travelers with QRP or Long Stay status and flight crews.
  • All international tourists must book their stay in Belize at a Gold Standard property (approved hotel or accommodation) and present confirmation at immigration.
  • All travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, entering Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport from other countries, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years will not be required to present a negative test.

In the past year, Belize has implemented several traveler protocols to keep visitors feeling safe, including the Tourism Gold Standard Program and Travel Belize app, which enables travelers to seamlessly plan their vacation with certified hotels and tour operators (an entry requirement). The new Travel Health Insurance mandate underscores Belize’s commitment to health and safety, enhancing travel confidence and giving visitors peace of mind to schedule that well-deserved vacation for 2022 and beyond.

About Belize Tourism Board
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is a statutory body within the Belize Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, and it is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations. The BTB works in conjunction with members of the private sector – including the Belize Hotel Association, Belize Tourism Industry Association and Belize National Tour Operators Association – and is dedicated to building tourism in the most economically and environmentally sustainable manner. As a part of its responsibilities, the BTB promotes Belize as a premier tourism destination to both in-country and international consumers. Among its outreach to the international travel market, the BTB markets the country’s unique attractions to travelers, members of the travel trade industry and media outlets in key markets. The BTB is also dedicated to developing and implementing tourism programs that will help strengthen and grow the Belizean tourism industry; promote good destination stewardship; and instill high quality standards for accommodations and travel experiences. For more information on the BTB and its services, visit www.travelbelize.org.

Posted in: 2021 News, Destination News

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Tribute to Sir Sidney L. Poitier KBE

The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, along with members of the Ministry’s Senior Executive Management Team and Staff, with deepest sadness, mark the passing of a great Bahamian and global legend, Sir Sidney L. Poitier.

From humble beginnings on Cat Island, Sidney Poitier, a proud young Bahamian embarked on a remarkable life journey on which he blazed trails, shattered glass ceilings and made a resounding global impact.

Grounded in an ethos of discipline and excellence, in 1964, Sir Sidney’s achieved the distinction of being the first black actor to be awarded an Oscar for best actor, for his lead role in the film Lilies of the Field. Sir Sidney went on to enjoy a brilliant acting career with numerous box office successes including iconic films such as The Heat Of The Night; To Sir, With Love; and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.

To all his fields of endeavour — acting, film directing, activism, diplomacy, philanthropy — Sir Sidney brought a singularly outstanding level of professionalism, which earned him the highest civic awards, both in the Commonwealth of Nations (Knight of the British Empire – KBE in 1974), as a Bahamian citizen, and in the United States (the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009).

On a global scale, Sir Sidney embodied greatness. Through his cinematic roles, he challenged stereotypes, modelled the highest attributes of human dignity and universally typified the individual who, through sheer human resolve and determination, overcomes challenges imposed by the larger society.

Sir Sidney, by the measure of his bearing, belonged to the world. Yet, at his most authentic self, Sir Sidney was a Bahamian, and of that fact, the People of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas will be eternally most proud.

We convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Sir Sidney, his wife, Joanna Shimkus and children: Beverly Poitier-Henderson, Pamela Poitier, Sherri Poitier, Gina Poitier-Gouraige, Anika Poitier, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier-Heartsong.

Earth Has No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the bereaved family of Sir Sidney.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Destination News

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Bahamas Tourism Ministry Updates Testing Protocols

NASSAU, Bahamas, 4 January 2022 – The Bahamas has suspended the mandatory RT-PCR testing requirement for vaccinated travellers, which was expected to take effect on 7 January 2022.  Vaccinated persons, as well as children ages 2-11, may continue to present either a negative Rapid Antigen Test or negative RT-PCR Test.

In addition, effective 4 January 2022, all persons remaining in The Bahamas for longer than 48 hours will be required to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test, regardless of vaccination status.

Details of the protocol changes are as follows:

  • All those travelling to The Bahamas from other countries, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days (72 hours) prior to the date of arrival in The Bahamas.
    • Vaccinated travellers and children between the ages of 2- 11, can present either a negative Rapid Antigen Test or RT-PCR Test.
    • All unvaccinated travellers, ages 12 and older, must present a negative RT-PCR Test (acceptable tests include NAAT, PCR, RNA, RT-PCR and TMA).
    • All children under the age of two are exempt from any testing requirements.
  • 48 Hour COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test: Effective 4 January 2022, a Rapid Antigen Test will be required for all travellers staying in The Bahamas longer than 48 hours (two (2) nights), regardless of vaccination status.

For full details, please visit Bahamas.com/travelupdates.

Posted in: 2022 News, Blog, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Destination News

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St. Kitts Tourism Authority Appoints New CEO

Basseterre, St. Kitts (January 4, 2022) – Today, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority announces the appointment of Ellison “Tommy” Thompson as CEO. In this role, Thompson will lead international marketing efforts for the destination, with a focus on trade and airline relationships; earned, paid and owned media; partnerships; and stakeholder communication. Thompson will focus on leisure and cruise, two perennially high performing areas for tourism to St. Kitts. He will also prioritize the romance and MICE markets, with the goal of increasing tourism’s economic benefits across the island. Thompson begins work on January 10, 2022.

“Mr. Thompson brings more than three decades of Caribbean tourism sales and marketing experience, including a deep knowledge of marketing Bahamas’ outer islands,” said Nick Menon, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “He has proven success increasing leisure travel, expanding key industry relationships, and implementing creative global marketing campaigns. We are thrilled to have his expertise at the helm of the Tourism Authority.”

“Tommy Thompson’s experience working with tourism ministries and destination marketing entities make him the premier choice to lead the St. Kitts Tourism Authority,” added Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports. “We are confident that under his leadership, we will continue driving high demand for the destination among air and cruise passengers as part of tourism’s continuous rebound.”

Thompson will utilize a data-driven approach to assess St. Kitts’ primary audiences and their behaviors. His initial intentions also include working closely with travel agents and tour operators, and partnering with airlines to increase passenger load and service to the destination.

“St. Kitts is an emerging destination with tremendous potential to excite travelers from around the world,” Thompson said. “I am looking forward to developing and implementing creative strategies that will increase St. Kitts’ visibility in our key source markets, put St. Kitts into the consideration set for travelers, and ultimately drive bookings.”

Most recently, Mr. Thompson served as Deputy Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. In this role, he developed global marketing strategies for the Ministry, with a focus on the Family Islands, Grand Bahama Island, and niche market promotions. He also led the sales teams in the United States, Canada and Europe as well as Asia and Latin America, and oversaw campaigns targeting consumers, tour operators and wholesalers, travel agents and airlines. Mr. Thompson has also held a number of other positions for both The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and The Bahamas Tourist Offices in the UK. He has additional experience managing visitor relations, cruise development, product development, and sales representation.

Posted in: 2022 News, Destination News

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St. Kitts & Nevis Reduces Restrictions for International Air Travelers & Cruise Passengers

Effective Saturday, December 11th, 2021, fully vaccinated international travelers, nationals and locals arriving by Air into the Federation are no longer required to test upon arrival or Vacation in Place (quarantine) for 24-hours while awaiting test results. Fully Vaccinated cruise passengers upon arrival at Port Zante, Charlestown or South Friars are now allowed to fully integrate (Free Flow) into the Federation.

Only vaccinated travelers may visit St. Kitts and Nevis. Effective December 11, 2021, all children 12 and older must also be fully vaccinated in order to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. Exemptions are in place for Citizens and Residents of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and also for children 11 and under who are accompanying their fully vaccinated parents or guardians. All travelers must submit negative test results from an RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.

“The end of our Vacation in Place protocol for Air Travelers and Free Flow for Cruise passengers are major achievements in our phased approach to tourism recovery in the Covid 19 Pandemic,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports. “We will maintain all tourism protocols through Travel Approved Certification for both air and cruise passengers. All stakeholders must be vaccinated to operate Travel Approved taxi/tours, attractions, excursions, restaurants, bars, or provide vendor services such as hair braiding. We are confident that our continued focus on a phased reopening will enable a meaningful rebound of the industry.”

Travelers must continue to show proof of vaccination to visit attractions or book tour experiences. Excursions must be scheduled through the concierge desk at Travel Approved Hotels or Resorts, and must utilize Travel Approved Taxis.

The following attractions are now accessible with proof of vaccination:

  • Brimstone Hill Fortress and National Park
  • Carambola Beach Club
  • Caribelle Batik
  • Fairview Great House
  • Palms Court Gardens
  • Port Zante including vendors from Amina Craft Market and Black Rocks
  • St. Kitts Scenic Railway
  • Vibes Beach Bar
  • Reggae Beach
  • Spice Mill

“The evolution of our protocols and the end of our Vacation in Place quarantine will make St. Kitts and Nevis even more competitive for travelers planning trips for 2022,” said Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “With seamless integration into the Federation, travelers can enjoy our quintessential Caribbean that engages the senses.”

This change comes on the heels of other significant announcements. International travelers can now plan overnight stays at multiple hotels, or book a twin island getaway between St. Kitts and Nevis. Fully vaccinated Nationals and Residents are also able to book hotel stays for staycation experiences, and can enter the Port Zante site while cruise ships are in port. Individuals must show a photo ID alongside a photocopy or original vaccination card in order to enter retail stores, bars, restaurants and casino. 

All Travel Protocols and Requirements remaining in place for the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, including the submission of negative test results from an RT PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival. Please see https://www.stkittstourism.kn/travel-requirements.

Below are the travel requirements for fully vaccinated travelers as of December 11, 2021:

  • All travelers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. A traveler is considered fully vaccinated when two weeks have passed since receiving their second dose of a two dose vaccine series (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm or Sinovac), or two weeks after they have received a single dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Mixing of approved vaccines for St. Kitts and Nevis is accepted.
  • Submit a covid-19 RT-PCR negative test results from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEO 17025 standard, taken 72 hours prior to travel. These tests must be taken by nasopharyngeal sample. (no self-samples, rapid tests or home tests will be considered valid – visit testfortravel.com to find a testing location near you).
  • Fill out the embarkation form and all other supporting documentation.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers will be required to submit a copy of their official vaccination record card including dates when doses were administered.
  • All incoming travelers must have hard copies of their KNA travel form, negative RT-PCR test results, vaccination record card and taxi fare as only Travel Approved taxis will be allowed to transport travelers to their accommodations.
  • Forms must be submitted no later than 24 hours prior to travel: visit here to access form, upload test results and vaccination record card.
  • Health Screening Questions:
    • All travelers will have temperature checked and answer a series of health screening questions, including health and travel history.
    • In the event a traveler exhibits any covid symptoms during the health screening, the traveler will be required to take a covid-19 test on site at the traveler’s expense.
  • Book at travel approved hotel for international travelers:
    • Golden Rock Inn
    • Montpelier Plantation & Beach
    • Oualie Beach Resort
    • Paradise Beach
    • Park Hyatt, St. Kitts
    • Royal St. Kitts Hotel
    • St. Kitts Beach Club
    • The Four Seasons, Nevis
    • The St. Kitts Marriott Resort
    • Timothy Beach Resort
  • Antigen tests are available for outbound air travelers whose countries of origin accept approved rapid testing upon return from international destinations. RT-PCR testing is also available. The Federation has removed the exit testing requirement for travelers whose countries of origin do not require return testing. 

International travelers who would like to stay at a 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]

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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