CTO News

U.K. Moves to High-Risk, Barbados Tourism Minister Outlines New Protocols

On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in conjunction with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) released the country’s updated travel protocols which will see the U.K. moving to the High-Risk category effective October 1, 2020.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator the Hon. Lisa Cummins, spoke to the reason for the change. “We have been closely following the developments in the U.K., particularly the surge in their COVID-19 numbers within the past week which Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to as a second wave. These large increases are of concern to our public health officials, who have recommended the new classification of the U.K. to the High-Risk category,” she said.

Visitors travelling from the U.K.—in addition to the mandatory COVID-19 PCR test taken at least 72-hours prior to arrival in Barbados—will now also be required to undergo a second COVID-19 PCR test in Barbados, five days after the date of their first accepted test.

Until the second test is taken, visitors from the U.K. will remain in hotels designated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and their movements will be restricted within that property. They will also be monitored for seven days after arriving in Barbados, including daily temperature checks and reports to their assigned health officer.

“Travel has changed. In light of COVID-19, we all understand that it will not be business as usual and we have to prioritize the health of all parties involved. We welcome all visitors to our shores, however we must ensure that we do so safely and responsibly. Many of our visitors are traveling to have that mental health break from the challenges of going through this pandemic. We need to ensure that we can welcome them to a Barbados that is able to keep them safe and healthy. I am confident that our protocols, as we continue to revise them in keeping with the fluidity of the situation, accomplish this goal.”

Public health gatekeepers

Cummins lauded the work of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, adding that “Since we resumed commercial flights in July, our public health officials have been our gatekeepers, proactively managing the flow of passengers through our airport. And if you examine our track record, you’ll see that thanks to our protocols and the round the clock work of our professionals, we have been able to capture almost all of the COVID-19 cases at the point of entry. This has allowed us to manage our risk and to ensure that anyone impacted by the virus has been isolated from the wider community.

At the same time, our hoteliers have done an exceptional job of ensuring that their properties are able to welcome guests safely. I have toured several properties in the past few weeks and it has been impressive to see how much attention they are paying to sanistisation and keeping people safe while they are enjoying the facilities. It’s peace of mind that many people want to have in this environment.

For more details and FAQs on travel to Barbados, visit: www.barbadostravelprotocols.com

Posted in: 2020 News, Blog, Destination News

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No Trinidad Carnival 2021

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts will continue to engage stakeholders to explore how Trinidad and Tobago can retain its time and space on the international Carnival calendar to solidify this country’s position as the home of Carnival.

“We will continue to prioritize the nation’s health over short-term economic gains. But we also recognize what Carnival means to Trinidad and Tobago, therefore, the Ministry will continue its dialogue with the major stakeholders to envisage a celebration which honours those traditions and adheres to health protocols,” stated the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, the Honourable Randall Mitchell.

On Monday 28 September 2020 Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley announced that Trinidad and Tobago will not host Carnival 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Mitchell agreed that it cannot be business as usual and it is critical that everyone’s health and safety is not jeopardized.  

Over the past few weeks, the Ministry has been in discussions with key Carnival stakeholders and the National Carnival Commission (NCC). During these meetings it was clear that there is a need for Trinidad and Tobago to retain its place on the international Carnival calendar to ensure future economic and social benefits and to solidify our position as the home of Carnival.  

“Trinidad and Tobago must take the lead and provide the world with a benchmark to follow for how such a festival can still hold worldwide attention. It is imperative that whatever is envisaged takes into consideration our new normal without flouting any of the health guidelines in place,” stated Minister Mitchell.

 Trinidad and Tobago successfully hosted the recent Caribbean Premier League, CPL 2020 cricket tournament which provided a blueprint for staging large scale events during the pandemic. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and its stakeholders will apply the lessons learnt from that experience to other tourism and cultural events.

The Ministry is working to ensure Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival remains at the forefront of the global Carnival landscape, and will lay the foundation for an even bigger and better Carnival 2022.


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Dominica Tourism Update Newsletter – July/August 2020

Dominica has since opened its borders to nationals and residents on July 15 and visitors on August 7. With the reopening of the borders, it is mandatory that all tourism service providers be trained to ensure that they are equipped with the proper skills and official know how to safely operate in the COVID-19 environment. So far, approximately 203 stakeholders to
include taxi service providers, vehicle rental employees and tour guides have undergone training of the Health and Safety Guidelines for the Tourism and Hospitality Industry. 28 properties have met the minimum requirements of the Health and Safety Guidelines and have been approved for reopening by the Environmental Health Department.

View newsletter: https://anyflip.com/yenla/opsc

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World Tourism Day 2020 Message

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – 25 September 2020 – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, joins the global community in celebrating World Tourism Day 2020 under the theme, “Tourism and Rural Development”.

This year’s international day of observation comes at a time when the global tourism industry is facing a crisis of historic proportion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the true impact of the pandemic may not be known for some time.  However, the immediate impact on our region is very evident. Having begun 2020 on course for a new record in tourist arrivals, the closure of airports in March was followed by virtually no travel to the Caribbean in April and May. The result was a 57 per cent decline in arrivals between January and June. This translates into an estimated 50 per cent to 60 per cent fall in visitor spend, which can be seen directly in the form of closed tourism businesses, and across the economic spectrum in the form of significantly reduced revenues in both the public and private sectors. In addition, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that almost half a million Caribbean tourism workers face the prospect of job losses, reductions in working hours, and loss of incomes as a result of the pandemic.

Several Caribbean countries are considered among the most vulnerable by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as international tourism revenues account for the majority of total exports in these states. It also goes without saying that women, youth, and workers in the informal economy have been, and will be, among the hardest hit.

The CTO has recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to rethink our approach to tourism and to forge closer alignment of tourism and health functions. We also recognised that we need to ensure that on the restart of the sector, the benefits of tourism activity accrue as quickly as possible to all facets of our societies. This means that while the traditional players in tourism restart, we also need to help those businesses which are often away from the coast and beaches, in our rural areas.

To this end, the organisation has forged ahead in its collaboration with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) which will be funding community-based tourism projects in some rural areas in Caribbean countries. The lessons learnt can be used as a blueprint to encourage similar projects across the region and be a catalyst for income generation and development in our rural communities.

Some of the characteristics of rural communities such as population demographics, lower income levels and relatively limited access to technology and infrastructure lead to an increased vulnerability in such areas, to the impacts of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism can work hand in hand with other economic sectors in the Caribbean such as agriculture, transportation and culture to empower rural communities.

Bringing people together in such an environment of solidarity and trust, advances the cooperation and collaboration needed to help us move beyond the pandemic. By providing a lifeline to the vulnerable in our societies, we reduce the tug on social services and further enhance the capacity of Caribbean people to play a leading role in their own development. Since the greatest resource in the Caribbean is our people, any investment will result in benefits for generations to come.

While we continue to work diligently on ensuring a safe and healthy environment for our visitors and locals alike, let us contemplate the opportunity that this pandemic affords us to tweak our tourism sector, and indeed all other sectors of our economies, to reach a level of sustainability that is resistant to crisis.

We urge our Caribbean people to join the world tourism community in rebuilding this sector and ensuring that starting now, the benefits of tourism consistently spread beyond the traditional coastal and urban bailiwick to areas of our countries often overlooked, but which can be positioned to sustainably diversify the already rich treasures awaiting visitors to our shores.


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Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Arrivals Begin Gradual Rise

(ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA) September 23, 2020 –  As Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Industry stakeholders prepare for peak season,  tourism officials are cautiously optimistic that with arrivals steadily increasing each month since the destination’s re-opening, that the moderate upward trend will continue into the traditionally busy tourism period.

For the year to August 2020, tourism stayover arrivals show that the destination received 94,810 visitors. Though arrivals dipped drastically in March due to reduced airlift brought on by the global pandemic, as the V.C Bird International Airport re-opened to international flights in June, monthly visitor arrivals have more than doubled from then until the end of August.

For the month of August, the destination received 4761 visitors, with 67% of these visitors travelling from the United States, followed by 21% from the United Kingdom & Europe, 7% from the Caribbean and 3% from Canada.

Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez noted that: “The Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority continue to carefully monitor the Covid-19 landscape within our main source markets. We remain committed to working with the Ministry of Health and the entire Antigua and Barbuda Tourism sector to ensure that as the destination opens up further, we keep those protective measures in place that have been designed to safeguard our residents and those who visit our shores.”

The Tourism Minister explained that it would not be business as normal, as with the pandemic ongoing, Covid-19 protocols would still require visitors to travel with their negative PCR test, wear facial masks when social distancing was not possible and adhere to other  protocols stipulated by the Ministry of Health.  For tourism businesses, he noted that protocols would also affect operations, and in some instances would mean reduced occupancy levels.

Presently American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, interCaribbean Airlines and Winair are operating flights into the destination.  In the next few months, Antigua and Barbuda will welcome, Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, and Sunwing.

In October, additional hotel re-openings have also been planned.  These include Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association member hotels:  Blue Waters Resort, Tamarind Hills, Hermitage Bay, Antigua Village, Galley Bay, Carlisle Bay Resort, St. James’s Club, The Great House, Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Ocean Point Resort, Curtain Bluff Resort, and Hawksbill.

“Each hotel or accommodation offering that has opened has been inspected by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health, to ensure that they are adhering to the covid-19 protocols set for tourism accommodation.   Over   two hundred properties have been inspected to date ranging from small bed & breakfast styled properties, to the larger all-inclusives,” said the Tourism Minister. The full listing of all tourism properties certified as of September 15 by the Ministry of Tourism’s Quality Assurance Unit, can be viewed here

The Ministry of Tourism also recently released to the Antigua and Barbuda yachting sector, operational guidelines, and protocols for the sector.  These protocols are also available on www.visitantiguabarbuda.com

The Tourism Minister urged the tourism sector to remain mindful of the Covid-19 protocols in place that all key players should be guided by during the tourism recovery.


Antigua (pronounced An-tee’ga) and Barbuda (Bar-byew’da) is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Voted the World Travel Awards 2015, 2016 and 2017 Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination, the twin-island paradise offers visitors two uniquely distinct experiences, ideal temperatures year-round, a rich history, vibrant culture, exhilarating excursions, award-winning resorts, mouth-watering cuisine and 365 stunning pink and white-sand beaches – one for every day of the year. The largest of the Leeward Islands, Antigua comprises 108-square miles with rich history and spectacular topography that provides a variety of popular sightseeing opportunities. Nelson’s Dockyard, the only remaining example of a Georgian fort a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, is perhaps the most renowned landmark. Antigua’s tourism events calendar includes the prestigious Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, and the annual Antigua Carnival; known as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival. Barbuda, Antigua’s smaller sister island, is the ultimate celebrity hideaway. The island lies 27 miles north-east of Antigua and is just a 15-minute plane ride away. Barbuda is known for its untouched 17 mile stretch of pink sand beach and as the home of the largest Frigate Bird Sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere.  Find information on Antigua & Barbuda at: www.visitantiguabarbuda.com or follow us on Twitter. http://twitter.com/antiguabarbuda  Facebook www.facebook.com/antiguabarbuda; Instagram: www.instagram.com/AntiguaandBarbuda


For media enquiries, please contact:
Maria Blackman
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority

T: 1 (268) 562 7600/464-7601
E: [email protected]


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TTAL begins distribution of $50M tourism grant

SCARBOROUGH Tobago, Thursday September 17 2020: Tobago’s tourism accommodation owners received a helping hand from the government to upgrade their properties, as the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL) began distribution of a 50 million dollar Tourism Accommodation Relief Grant (TARG).

TARG was developed by the Tobago House of Assembly to ensure that the island’s tourism sector can be helped onto a pathway to wider economic and social recovery post COVID-19, with grants for eligible tourism accommodation facilities on the island.

As of Monday (September 14) payments have started, and 18 successful applications have been processed with a mixture of hotels, villas, self-catering apartments and guest houses to receive the first half of their grant allocations.

With TARG, property owners are able to access funding as categorized by their number of guestrooms, ranging from a maximum of $100,000TTD for 2-7 rooms, $300,000TTD for 8-50 rooms, $500,000TTD for 51-99 rooms, and $600,000TTD for 100 rooms or more.

TTAL received over 50 applications for the grant to date, and have been undertaking comprehensive audits of each property over the past few weeks, including physical site inspections. The grant’s comprehensive application process was developed to ensure that legitimate tourism accommodation providers can access the necessary funding to aid in their resilience and recovery during this challenging period.

TTAL’s Director of Product Development and Destination Management Mr. Narendra Ramgulam stated: “From a product development standpoint, this grant is a significant stepping stone in face-lifting and improving destination Tobago’s accommodation plant, so that we have competitive and improved products in the near future, and can continue to deliver experiences to our visitors that go beyond the ordinary.”

For more information about the Tourism Accommodation Upgrade Grant, visit the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited’s website at https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/corporate/tobago-tourism-sector-relief-grants

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