CTO News

Tobago tourism stakeholders collaborate to reinforce destination safety

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Friday July 10, 2020:  The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) is steadfastly preparing the island for increased tourism activity and the eventual opening of Trinidad and Tobago’s borders, through product development initiatives focused on collaboration, health, and safety.

While the onset of COVID-19 would have ground travel to a halt to the island in mid-March, the island’s tourism authorities grasped the opportunity to prioritize the developmental needs of the travel and tourism industry that was hit hard by the pandemic.

In addition to the ongoing dissemination of a Tourism Accommodation Relief Grant totalling 50 million dollars, the TTAL conducted an online consultation series with the island’s tourism stakeholders from mid-June to July 09, 2020 to develop a COVID-19 Tourism Health and Safety Manual.

The manual will provide Tobago’s tourism industry with the most adequate measures that can be implemented to reinforce destination safety and underline the trust of tourists, workers and residents.

Mr. Narendra Ramgulam, Director of Product Development and Destination Management at TTAL stated: “The purpose of our Health and Safety manual is really to work together with our industry stakeholders to develop actionable and harmonized processes and procedures that are in line with global and local public health instructions.

Our stakeholders have shown their commitment to help TTAL position Tobago as a safe destination moving forward, by sharing their feedback and ideas for improvement and making the necessary recommended changes.”

Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses within the industry have already responded to the pandemic with stepped-up cleaning and sanitation, staff training, and innovative changes to their business models and infrastructure to allow for social distancing and customer safety.

“Current research indicates that travellers are looking for safe destinations and products as opposed to ones that are price influenced,” Mr. Ramgulam stated. “With Tobago’s residents, tourism stakeholders and industry workers on board, we can work together for a safer and healthy destination.”

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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Grenada Announces Phased Approach to Reopening its Borders

Entry Requirements Confirmed for low, medium and high risk Countries 

The Government of Grenada has announced a phased approach to the reopening of its borders, promoting a smooth, systematic and safe process. For this process countries will be categorized as Low, Medium or High-risk, for the purposes of entry requirements to Grenada. The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has detailed the protocols for travellers into Grenada in an official comprehensive document for each of the three categories in the following link: Protocols for Travellers into Grenada.

Meantime, the UK Government has named Grenada as one of the countries that British passengers upon returning from, will not be required to self-isolate. An official UK travel bulletin, ‘Travel Corridors: countries and territories exemption list” reads, from July 10, unless they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days, passengers arriving from the listed countries and territories will not be required to self isolate on arrival into England and Grenada is included in this list.

Through the hard work and diligence of the Government of Grenada and the Ministry of Health, the coronavirus was successfully contained by closing borders since March 22, imposing a limited state of emergency, social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and screening and testing. Grenada presently has no active cases of COVID-19 since June 18 with only 23 positive cases recorded. Finally, as of Tuesday July 8, 2020, the curfew has been lifted in the tri-island state of Grenada, Carriacou and Peitite Martinique. The relaxed measures come on the heels of Grenada’s success in being a COVID free destination and our preparedness for the gradual reopening of the borders.

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

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Antigua and Barbuda Travel Advisory Update (July 2, 2020)

July 2, 2020 – The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has updated its travel advisory effective 72 hours from date of issue to ensure the continued safety of travelers and residents.

The V.C. Bird International Airport is opened for international and regional air traffic. The Antigua Port Authority is opened to Cargo Vessels, Pleasure Craft and Ferry Services which are required to follow all protocols issued by Port Health.

The State will be working on a combination of screening, testing, monitoring and other measures to mitigate the risk of importing any new cases of COVID-19 into the country. Additionally, measures will be implemented for the quick detection of any imported cases.

This strategy is intended to protect and safeguard the health of both residents of and visitors to Antigua and Barbuda. During this period several protocols will be implemented as follows:

  1. All arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) taken within seven (7) days of their flight. (this includes transiting passengers).
  2. Passengers arriving by sea (private yachts/Ferry Services) are subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by Port Health.
  3. All arriving passengers must wear a face mask on disembarkation and in all public areas. Additionally, the wearing of face mask in public spaces is mandatory throughout Antigua and Barbuda and social/physical distancing protocols must be adhered to.
  4. All arriving passengers must complete a Health Declaration Form and will be subjected to screening and temperature checks by Port Health Authorities upon arrival in Antigua and Barbuda.
  5. All arriving passengers will be monitored for COVID-19 for periods of up to 14 days in accordance with the directions of the Quarantine Authority and the Quarantine (COVID-19) Guidelines. Visitors may be required to undergo testing for COVID-19 on arrival or at the hotel or place of lodging as determined by the Health Authorities.
  6. Arriving passengers with symptoms of COVID 19 may be isolated as determined by the Health Authorities.
  7. Transiting passengers/Crew members who require an overnight stay will be required to proceed to a hotel or government designated facility to await departure.
  8. All Marine Pleasure Craft and Ferry Services will enter ONLY at the Nevis Street Pier. Military Vessels/Aircraft and other Watercraft transporting food, medical supplies, humanitarian and emergency supplies will be required to follow the Quarantine Guidelines established by the Quarantine Authority as well as issued by Port Health and must give prior notification before arrival.

These restrictions for maritime traffic, and the consequential Antigua Port Authority guidelines, issued during the State of Emergency, shall not restrict vessels engaged in innocent passage and/or transit passage, within the territorial seas and/or archipelagic waters of Antigua and Barbuda, under the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This Travel Advisory replaces ALL previous Travel Advisories issued by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Anthony Liverpool

Permanent Secretary

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

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Caribbean Unveils Initiatives to Support Reopening Tourism

MIAMI (July 4, 2020) – The Caribbean’s health and tourism authorities’ COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force announced a new initiative to help safeguard the health of travelers and employees during a recent virtual press conference, unveiling comprehensive health safety guidelines supported by an aggressive training schedule aimed at reaching thousands of the region’s tourism employees in the coming weeks and months.

The initial set of guidelines includes detailed checklists backed by health safety training for various tourism industry sectors, including ground transportation, accommodation providers, food and beverage, and attractions. General health safety protocols have also been created and will be supported with training delivered by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to a wide cross section of employees and owners in the tourism industry.

Companies in the region which participate in the training will be recognized, and accommodation providers which also join CARPHA’s online Tourism Health Information System (THiS) will be eligible to receive the Caribbean Travel Health Assurance (CTHA) Stamp , adding further assurance to travelers about their commitment to health safety.

Building upon a unique partnership established over five years ago by CARPHA and the region’s public and private sector tourism stakeholders, and recognizing the severe negative impact which COVID-19 could have on the tourism-dependent economies of the region, CARPHA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) started working on COVID-19 preventative and education initiatives early in February.

This led to the formalization of the COVID-19 Caribbean Tourism Task Force a month later between CARPHA, CTO and CHTA, and later joined by the Jamaica-based Global Tourism Resiliency and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Commission (OECSC).

Not intended to replace specific national and territorial guidelines, or those being put in place by specific hotels and the industry, the procedures serve to reinforce and complement existing policies which have been drawn up to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The initiative has also been put in place to provide support particularly for the independent hotels, tourism-related businesses, and smaller destinations which lack the expertise or resources to develop their own.

The task force undertook a review, which engaged a cross representation of Caribbean tourism stakeholders, of health safety protocols and guidelines for tourism protocols issued by a range of destinations, industry enterprises, and regional agencies and are further synced with global protocols, including those of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

“We started working with this (initiative) in January with the Member States and we have been leading the regional health response in this matter of COVID-19. Public health is our mandate, and in looking at how we can ensure we open up to tourism safely, we had guidance from not only our own technical sources but also the guidance and the wisdom of those in the field,” said Dr. Joy St. John, CARPHA’s Executive Director.

The leadership of both CHTA and CTO expressed their commitment to the engagement of tourism and industry partners in improving and maintaining health and safety standards throughout the region and were thankful for the expertise of the partners in delivering an impressive compilation of protocols.

CHTA CEO Frank Comito and CTO Acting Secretary General Neil Walters expressed that such collaborative partnerships are critical to the sustainability of the tourism sector on which many countries and territories depend for their economic survival.

The task force members agreed that disseminating the guidelines and beginning the essential work of training industry stakeholders while navigating the changing nature of the industry and the global economy were urgent priorities.

Also joining in the launch were Dr. Didicus Jules, Director General for the OECSC; Dr. Lloyd Waller, Executive Director for the GTRCMC; and CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass, who each reinforced their support and the importance of the initiative.

For more information on the guidelines and related training sessions, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 55 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.

About the Caribbean Public Health Agency
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the new single regional public health agency for the Caribbean. It was legally established in July 2011 by an Intergovernmental Agreement signed by Caribbean Member States and began operation in January 2013. The Agency is the Caribbean region’s collective response to strengthening and reorienting its health system approach so that it is equipped to address the changing nature of public health challenges. The approach is people-centered and evidence-informed. For more information visit www.carpha.org.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which is headquartered in Barbados, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean. Among the benefits to its members the organisation provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution, and research & information technology. For more information, visit www.OneCaribbean.org.

About the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an international organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean, comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. For more information, visit www.oecs.int.

About the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre
The vision of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre is to assist global tourism destinations with destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that impact tourism and threaten economies and livelihoods globally. For more information, visit www.gtrcmc.org.

 

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

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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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