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Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism & Aviation’s Statement on the Return Of Royal Caribbean

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is thrilled to welcome back longtime partner Royal Caribbean International, as the cruise line announced today that Nassau will be the homeport for Adventure of the Seas, beginning this June. The Bahamas Government and Ministry of Tourism have worked closely with Royal Caribbean throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is with great pleasure that The Bahamas embraces its critical role in the return of cruising.

Adventure of the Seas will be homeporting in Nassau and visiting additional islands in The Bahamas including Grand Bahama Island and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private Bahamas destination that directly employs a fair number of Bahamians. This means even more of our citizens across islands can get back to work, and our vital tourism sector can continue towards recovery. We’ve long awaited reuniting with cruise guests, and the Ministry is thrilled to welcome Royal Caribbean passengers back to our shores to experience why it’s still Better in The Bahamas.

We are proud to have worked and prepared diligently to safely welcome travelers back and are confident that our protocols, combined with the measures Royal Caribbean is implementing – including a requirement for all crew and guests to be fully vaccinated – will deliver an unforgettable vacation experience. In anticipation of Royal Caribbean’s return to the islands, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar said, “Our destination is ready and waiting to resume its role as the region’s go to place where travelers head to for escape and rejuvenation.”

Full details related to Royal Caribbean’s health and safety measures are available online, while testing and entry requirements for The Bahamas, including Bahamas Health Visa application and more, can be found on Bahamas.com/travelupdates.

With traveler confidence and vaccine distribution on the rise, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism looks forward to the successful return of cruise travel to The Bahamas this summer.

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Tobago Celebrates 100-Mark Milestone With Safe Travels Stamp

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Wednesday March 17, 2021: The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited marked a significant milestone in its efforts to promote health and safety in Tobago’s tourism industry, as the destination saw more than 100 tourism businesses being awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council “Safe Travels” stamp.

The Safe Travels stamp is the world’s first ever global safety and hygiene stamp for travel and tourism designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. The recipients of the stamp are required to adopt and adhere to the practices outlined in the Agency’s Tourism Industry Health & Safety Manual, which have been vetted and endorsed by the WTTC.

Among the 100-plus Safe Travels tourism businesses in Tobago are tour guides, restaurants, tourism ancillary services and tourism accommodation, including the largest properties on the island with the majority of room stock such as Coco Reef Resort and Spa, Mt. Irvine Bay Resort, Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, Le Grand Courland, Kariwak Holistic Haven and many others.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) applauded Tobago and the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited for this significant milestone of surpassing its 100th Safe Travels recipient.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President and CEO, shared the following congratulatory statement: “Tobago is an incredibly important holiday destination, and is becoming more popular each year. We are pleased to see Tobago implementing enhanced health and safety measures that are in line with our global protocols, to ensure safe travel, and we are delighted to recognise its efforts through the WTTC Safe Travels stamp.

“We are delighted to have worked with the Tobago Tourism Agency in promoting and advancing the internationally recognised stamp, and we hope their adoption will urge other destinations to join them in restoring consumer confidence and reopening safe travels.”

As noted by the WTTC head, Tobago joins over 250 other major popular holiday hot spots around the world such as Egypt, Turkey, Portugal, Argentina, Tunisia, and Indonesia, whose usage of the Safe Travel’s Stamp helps to reassure travellers and restore confidence to travel.

Destination Tobago was one of the early adopters of the stringent health and safety protocols developed by WTTC and endorsed by the UNWTO, becoming the third destination in the entire Caribbean to successfully earn the “Safe Travels” designation in July 2020 – right after fellow regional tourism leaders, Jamaica and Aruba.

TTAL Board of Directors Chair, Dr Sherma Roberts reiterated the significance of the “Safe Travels Stamp” for destination Tobago’s tourism sector recovery:

“It has been almost one year since Covid-19 brought the tourism industry to a sudden halt globally.  The Tobago Tourism Agency responded by joining the global effort to position Tobago as a safe destination in the global marketplace, and by equipping our industry stakeholders to safely and confidently serve the domestic market in the first instance, and eventually the rest of the world when our borders reopen.

While it is essential that each destination or sub-region within the international travel and tourism sector develops clear and practical protocols to enable recovery, such a united and internationally endorsed approach as presented by the WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is even more important for Tobago, given our dependence on – and relationship with – tourism entities from all corners of the globe.”

Louis Lewis, TTAL’s Chief Executive Officer, once again encouraged Tobago’s tourism stakeholders to get on board the Safe Travels initiative, stating:

“In keeping with the global trends and a call for international safety, the Tobago Tourism Agency continues to place safety as a priority for the island, and we encourage tourism providers who have not signed up yet to contact us and attain this globally recognized stamp of travel. Together, we can reassure travellers and rebuild confidence in the industry by doing our diligence through compliance with our Tourism Industry Health and Safety Manual for Post Covid-19.”

For more information about acquiring the Safe Travels stamp in Tobago, visit the Tobago Tourism Agency’s website at www.tobagobeyond.com/safetravels

Interested applicants can also contact the Agency’s Product Development and Destination Management team via email directly at [email protected]

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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As of April 11, 2021 No More Quarantaine for Statians After Vaccination

The Public Entity St. Eustatius will ease the measures as of April 11, 2021. Statia residents that are fully vaccinated do not need to go into quarantine when entering Statia after traveling abroad. This easing measure is not applicable for tourists.

The decision to easy the measures was taken after careful deliberation and after extensively consulting with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports in the Netherlands (VWS), the National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM), the epidemiologist in Saba, Mr. Koen, the Public Health Department and the Crisis Management Team in Statia.

PRC test required

Statia residents returning from abroad still need to have a negative PCR test at hand, but this only applies if a high risk country was visited. A quick test (antigen) is also required 5 days after returning to Statia. In addition, social distancing and wearing a face mask are mandatory for the first 5 days after entry. Also, it is not allowed to attend events with more than 25 persons present during the first 5 days and the returning Statians must adhere to hygiene rules during these days such as washing hands regularly.

The easing measures are not applicable for tourists, even if they are vaccinated.

Children

Children that were abroad and return from high risk countries are not allowed to go to school or childcare for 5 days. Children in the age group of 4 years and older will be tested after 5 days. However, for children of 12 years and older, different measures apply. They need to go into quarantine upon arrival for 10 days. This can be done in the same house as their parents, but in a separate room. The distinction between these age groups is made due to the fact that children above 12 years are more often spreading the COVID-19 virus than children between 4 and 12 years.

Day visits to St. Maarten

Persons that are fully vaccinated with the two doses of the Moderna vaccine can visit St. Maarten for 1 day, without testing, and without the need to go into quarantine upon return to Statia. This easing measure is only applicable when the number of active COVID-19 cases on in St Maarten is below the 100 per week.

Incoming workers

Incoming workers that are vaccinated will be evaluated on a case by case basis. However, quarantine is required unless the type of work allows an easier regime.

Next steps

At this moment the Public Entity St. Eustatius is working on a roadmap which will include specific steps to further open Statia. This road map will first be discussed with the Central Committee next week.

The Public Health Department will begin administering the second dose of the vaccine on February 22nd, 2021. Up till now 765 persons were vaccinated with the first doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is a bit more than 30% of the adult population.  The Public Health Department will begin administering the second dose of the vaccine on Monday, March 22nd, 2021. Up to 765 persons have received the first dose, a bit more than 30% of the adult population.

 

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grand Bahama Island Expands Airport Facilities for Travel Restart

Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas, March 18, 2021 – Grand Bahama Island has taken a series of major steps in preparation for the day when US travelers regain their confidence and once again venture forth.  As their nearest and most familiar neighbor, Grand Bahama Island is ready to welcome them back!

In a recent visit to tour and inspect the temporary terminal facilities at the Grand Bahama International Airport, Directors and Member Hotel Managers of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board saw firsthand the additional work being carried out to address in the short term, the needs of air passenger service to the island.

The temporary airport facility at the Grand Bahama International Airport has doubled in size to over eight thousand square feet and is now better prepared to service both international and domestic travel markets. This significant expansion and upgrade of the facility allows for better handling of baggage, an additional 250-seat departure area, and the efficient processing of visitors through Immigration, Customs and Baggage Claim in the arrivals terminal.

The plan for the overall redevelopment of the Grand Bahama International Airport is nearing the final stages, as the Government completes its negotiations with the Hutchison Group and the Grand Bahama Port Authority to acquire ownership of the airport.   “We are pleased that the Government has received high interest from companies who want to have a public/private partnership (PPP) in the redevelopment of the airport,” declared State Minister for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson.

“Attracting sufficient airlift and proper marketing of the island is critical to its success, and we are extremely pleased that post-Dorian and post-COVID we still have investors who are willing and able to come and invest in GBI.”

Grand Bahama’s stakeholders are pleased with and encouraged by the progress on the airport, observing that the additional work that is nearing completion directly addresses the deficiencies that were pointed out by previous users of the facilities.

Marco Gobbi, General Manager of the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Resort, which has consistently operated on Grand Bahama for the past 30 years, confirmed that his ownership remains committed to the island.  “In our opinion, the temporary airport facility is adequate for processing air passengers to the island.  We are confident that as we work towards rebuilding demand for our property, further improvement of the airport facilities will happen.”

The Viva Wyndham Fortuna is reopening on April 25th, and the team under Gobbi’s direction is working hard to meet that goal amidst the changing marketplace conditions, the latest being the new requirements for entry into the United States.  “We will be making some special opening offers, and perhaps also include the rapid test in our packages to make it more attractive for our visitors from the USA,” stated Mr. Gobbi.

Sean Basden is Vice President of Taino Beach Resorts & Clubs, which is the largest Bahamian owned and operational resort on Grand Bahama Island. A time-share Resort with approximately 5,000 members, the property is comprised of approximately 160 timeshare units that consist of one- and two-bedroom condo units. Basden shared that in addition, the 66 hotel units at the Flamingo Bay Resort, one of the three Taino Beach properties, are completely open, including its Marina facilities, with 25 Boat Slips and a good client base that comes mainly from the South Florida market. Continuous upgrades to all the units have been underway, despite the fact that the property has not benefitted from any external assistance programs in the wake of both Dorian and COVID.

“Our Staff Members have benefitted from the Government’s unemployment program, and I must say that it has been a great help to them,” said Mr. Basden. “Our focus is on keeping up the standards of our property, to ensure that we are open and ready.  We have enjoyed great support from the local market and domestic visitors from the other islands.”

On March 25th Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan resort will be reopening, “We are delighted to welcome back our many legacy guests after 12 months of Coronavirus induced closure, and to all, we say, we are back!” stated Chairman, Michael Scott, QC.

“On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, we are truly thrilled to welcome you once again to our world-class resort. The added safety and security protocols will assure you a safe and happy experience, giving you the peace and serenity our resort offers as well as enticing you to indulge in our many amenities and experiences; whether it be lounging on the beach, spear fishing, golf, the thrill of deep-sea fishing or just simply exploring the beautiful Island of Grand Bahama.”

Special promotions geared toward domestic tourism, such as golf packages, weekend getaways and “staycations” for residents of Nassau, the Family Islands and locals, will be available.

To help safeguard both guests and staff members, Grand Lucayan implemented advanced safety protocols and best practices in response to COVID-19. Upon returning, all staff members will be administered daily temperature checks, required to be tested weekly and complete extensive trainings on precautions and preparedness, and will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while on-site. In addition, social distancing guidelines and signage will be posted throughout the property, touchless hand sanitizing stations will be readily available and public spaces will frequently be disinfected.

Guests of Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan enjoy exceptional, crowd free amenities, including access to its progressive fitness facilities and 18-hole championship golf at The Reef Course, acclaimed as one of the world’s “Top 100” golf courses. In addition, the property presents visitors with easy access to a myriad of fresh air excursions, from biking along historic trails and birdwatching at the nearby Rand Nature Centre, to horseback riding along the sparkling shoreline or fishing in one of the world’s top sport fishing regions.

Known as “The Jewel of Grand Bahama Island,” Port Lucaya Marketplace, the largest shopping, dining and entertainment open air facility in The Bahamas, lies just a short walk from the property and presents cultural consumers with an endless supply of specialty stores, restaurants and bars. Nearby, the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) offers adventure travelers and eco-tourists a variety of expeditions, including informative dolphin encounters, thrilling shark feeding and cave dives in the extensive labyrinth of submerged tunnels at Lucayan National Park.

For more information on Grand Bahama Island please visit the official website of the GBI Tourism Board: www.grandbahamavacations.com;  follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/ visitGBI; Instagram: @visitGBI ; Twitter: @visitGBI .

Posted in: 2021 News, Blog, Destination News

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Nevis Invites Health-Conscious Travelers to “Just Be” In Nevis

Charlestown, Nevis, March 16, 2021 – The Nevis Tourism Authority (NTA) is focused on expanding its visitor base of health and fitness travelers with the launch of a new promotional video that highlights Nevis’ wellness destination experiences. Released on March 16th, the video is now available on the NTA’s website www.nevisisland.com as well as their social media channels. The video invites visitors to come, explore and enjoy a relaxing getaway and connect with the soul and spirit of this special island.

The new #JustBeNevis video will serve as a vehicle to showcase the distinctive aspects of the destination and target the growing health and wellness visitor segment. “As more and more travelers embrace healthy lifestyles and practices, Nevis affords visitors an ideal opportunity to escape from the stresses of everyday life and relax and rejuvenate in a lush, natural environment. This video helps us to position Nevis as the preferred wellness destination for guests seeking vacation experiences that focus on their wellbeing,” said Nevis Tourism Authority CEO Jadine Yarde.  “In addition to our exceptional resort spas, we also have a host of talented wellness consultants — massage therapists, yoga instructors, fitness gurus and nutrition experts, who offer personalized programs and curated experiences for guests.”

The video, which is just over a minute long, invites travelers to Just Be in Nevis, and showcases a number of activities for health-conscious vacationers. Breathe while enjoying beach yoga, Release the tensions and toxins during that body massage and other spa treatments, Transform as you practice your meditation rituals and Embrace those outdoor pursuits, against the backdrops of breathtaking scenery and panoramic views.

Several Nevisian wellness practitioners and locations are featured in the video, including the Nevis Hot Springs, where visitors can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the thermal waters; the Bac 2 My Roots Spatique, an eco-friendly Wholistic Spa and Juice bar offering a range of traditional healing techniques drawn from Africa and India; and signature massage treatments at the Myra Jones-Edith Kirby Jones Wellness Center.

To complement the #JustBeNevis wellness video, and generate a larger conversation around wellness and well-being, the NTA is inviting guests to share videos of their own best self-care practices, or how they incorporate wellness into their daily routines, on the NTA’s Instagram and Facebook platforms using the hashtag #JustBeNevis.  The most popular videos will receive a gift from Nevis, in appreciation for their support. A comprehensive “Wellness” brochure, with information on both traditional and non-traditional wellness and self-care experiences has been produced, designed to provide visitors with everything they need to know to create their perfect vacation in Nevis. The brochure will be available on the NTA website.

The NTA is also launching a monthly “Escape to Nevis” series this month, which will  air on their YouTube channel, and feature conversations with a variety of interesting and innovative Nevisian personalities speaking to different aspects of the destination. The first episode is focused on wellness, and will star Edith Irby, owner of the Edith Irby Jones Wellness Center, and herbal specialist Sevil Hanley, a leading  authority on the healing properties of locally grown roots and herbs.

Wellness tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry and according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a non-profit global research firm focused on the global wellness industry, the projected market size of the global health and wellness market in 2020 was $4.94 trillion and could reach $5.54 trillion in 2022.

For more information on Nevis wellness experiences visit the Nevis Tourism Authority website at  https://nevisisland.com/wellness. Feel free to follow us on Instagram (@nevisnaturally), Facebook (@nevisnaturally), YouTube (nevisnaturally) and Twitter (@Nevisnaturally).

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