Community-Based Tourism is an opportunity for MSMEs to become beneficiaries and guardians of well-developed strategies say UNDP and CTO

Bridgetown April 1st, 2022 — As part of its goal to support the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the United Nations Development Programme UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has recently formalized a partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which will assist in enhancing the knowledge of tourism-based MSMEs in the areas of Community-based Tourism (CBT).

This support is multi-pronged in approach and aims to help MSMEs by converting the CBT Enterprise Handbook, jointly developed by the CTO and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF), into a self-paced and user-friendly online course. Through this capacity-building initiative, which will be led by the CTO, tourism stakeholders will be provided with access to convenient, up to date and innovative training to support their CBT development efforts, improve their business skills and productivity. The Online Course will be hosted via the recently launched Caribbean Tourism Institute and include animated lectures, activity work sheets, case studies, videos and knowledge-test assessments that will form part of a user-focussed interactive e-learning package.

“In order to create a more sustainable and inclusive tourism industry, there must be capacity building for both public and private stakeholders within the industry,” Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean noted. “Community-based tourism provides the opportunity for tourists to have authentic experiences while ensuring that MSMEs are also beneficiaries and guardians of well-developed tourism strategies, which embraces the unique cultural heritage of the region. To realise this vision, collaboration with stakeholders such as the CTO, the lead regional organisation on tourism, is critical, if we want to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs throughout the region.”  She added, highlighting the need for greater collaboration with regional tourism stakeholders, as a conduit for regional transformation in the tourism sector.

The collaboration is being delivered in the frame of the UNDP Future Tourism Project, which aims to create socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable value chains. The Future-Tourism project was developed out of a need to adapt to the new post-COVID-19 environment and to build resilience within the economic sectors of the region. This collaboration with the CTO is one of many collaborative efforts, which seek to improve the long-term socioeconomic and cultural interests of the region.

CTO’s Acting Secretary General, Mr. Neil Walters, speaking on the collaboration, expressed his appreciation to the UNDP for the support and technical assistance to the CTO and by extension, the regional tourism sector. He added, “the CTO has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy. This is further justified by the shift in tourism demand enabling the evolution of niche markets and specially curated tourism products in the areas of rural and indigenous tourism, heritage and wellness tourism. As we herald a new era of Caribbean tourism, industry resilience and recovery should incorporate the introduction of innovative ideas for product diversification and enhancement, and capacity-building for various stakeholders including MSMEs to navigate the new normal and generate more direct benefits from tourism”.

The Online Course will facilitate delivery of training to the widest possible regional audience, and is expected to enhance CBT know-how, improve quality standards in the region, and contribute to the success and viability of MSMEs in host communities. Participants will obtain a Certificate for successful completion of the course, which will add value to regional populations that have scarce opportunities for professional development.

The UNDP Future Tourism project aims to assist governments with identifying and implementing tourism revitalisation strategies, as well as enhancing the resilience of MSMEs to external shocks while advancing their recovery and supporting digital transformation. With UNDP’s partnership with the CTO, phase 2 which aims to provide technical support for MSME retooling and access to markets within the tourism value chain, MSMEs will benefit from the additional support of the self-paced course which will provide an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.

As part of its commitment to promote economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” vision, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean aims to continue to leverage partnerships with key stakeholders in the region. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and the creation of resilient communities which can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.

About the United Nations Development Programme, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.bb.undp.org or follow at @UNDPBarbados

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Montserrat Reopens: COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxes

Friday April 1 2022, Brades, Montserrat – On Thursday March 31, 2022– The Government of Montserrat made some significant relaxation adjustments to the COVID-19 suppression regulations since the implementation of these measures in 2020.

Persons travelling to Montserrat are no longer required to fill out an online declaration form for permission to enter.  The pre-travel online declaration form is only required to be completed and submitted by non-resident technicians who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

The new regulations maintain the requirements for persons entering Montserrat to present a negative COVID-19 test result.  The negative test result document must include the full name, address, and date of birth of the person tested; the date the test was conducted and the date the sample was taken.

The pre-entry requirements are as follows:

(1) A person who intends to enter Montserrat shall take a COVID-19 test no earlier than three days prior to entry into Montserrat.

(2)  The following persons are exempted from this requirement:

(a)  a child under five years of age;

(b)  a person entering Montserrat in circumstances related to a medical evacuation; and

(c)  a person who has been granted permission by the Minister to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster,

The borders are also open to passengers arriving by sea, this includes yachts and cruise ship visits; only vaccinated persons arriving on yachts and cruise ships would be allowed on island. The owner of a vessel or aircraft must ensure that persons travelling are in possession of a copy of a negative PCR COVID-19 or RNA COVID-19 test, if not, the owner will be committing an offence.  Yachters and Cruise Operators must alert the Montserrat Port Authority ahead of their visit to the island via email [email protected]  and/or VHF Channel 16. Advanced clearance can be made on the regional pre-arrival notification system at www.sailclear.com.

Persons arriving on Montserrat are required to answer all questions asked by the Medical or Health Officer, and may be required to undertake health checks and screenings.  Individuals who are fully vaccinated must provide the Medical or Health officer with proof of their vaccination status. If this evidence is not provided, then the individual will be regarded and treated as being not fully vaccinated.

Fully Vaccinated Persons – Entry into Montserrat

A fully vaccinated person is required to be tested for COVID-19 on entry into Montserrat.  A traveler is considered fully vaccinated, 14 days after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after the traveler has received a single dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson’s). If the Covid-19 test result indicates that the person is not infected with COVID-19, then the individual is not required to self-quarantine or isolate. However, if the test result is indeterminate (unknown/inconclusive) then the fully vaccinated person must go directly to their place of occupancy, designated quarantine facility or place of isolation and shall remain there to await the results of further COVID-19 tests.

If further testing reveals that the fully vaccinated person is infected, then he or she is required to self-quarantine or isolate until:

 (a)  he/she is not infected with COVID-19; or

(b)  he/she leaves Montserrat.

The regulations for a fully-vaccinated person will also apply to a fully-vaccinated non-resident technician.

All vaccines which have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are accepted for entry into Montserrat. 

Persons not fully vaccinated – entry into Montserrat

Individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated upon arrival after undergoing the necessary COVID-19 screenings, are required to go directly to his/her home or place of occupancy, designated quarantine facility, or place of isolation and self-quarantine for 10 days.

Between eight and ten days after entering Montserrat, the individual will be tested for COVID-19 to determine if he/she is negative and can therefore be released from quarantine on day ten (10).

All persons entering Montserrat are required to pay the requisite fees for the COVID-19 test(s), where applicable (test on arrival for vaccinated – US$56; test for release from quarantine – US$56).   Additionally, Rapid Antigen tests have been added to the list of COVID-19 tests accepted for entry into Montserrat; the other two are RNA and PCR. However, antibody tests are not accepted.

Once on Montserrat it is mandatory for face coverings to be worn in public places where business is being conducted (Government and Private Business establishments). 

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St. Kitts & Nevis Revise Entry Requirements for Travelers Arriving by Air

Basseterre, St. Kitts (March 29, 2022) – Effective Friday, April 1, 2022, all international visitors arriving by Air may show proof of either a negative COVID-19 antigen test or a negative RT-PCR test to enter the Federation. Antigen tests must be taken within the 24 hours prior to arrival; RT-PCR tests must be taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival. This is a revision of the previous requirement, which only allowed for RT-PCR tests.

“The Federation is primed to continue welcoming visitors through the spring and summer months. We are fully open for visitors, and we are pleased to share revised entry protocols that make air travel to the destination easier for our international guests,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports“We are confident that these amended entry requirements will aid in the rebound of our air arrivals, and the ongoing recovery of our tourism industry and related economies.”

“Spring and summer are ideal times to experience our destination and easing our entry processes means more seamless arrivals for our guests,” added Ellison “Tommy” Thompson, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority. “We look forward to travellers immersing themselves in our quintessential Caribbean experiences this season, whether they’re seeking a relaxing escape, the adrenaline of the outdoors, exceptional cuisine, live music, or a destination rich in history.”

Only fully vaccinated visitors may visit St. Kitts and Nevis. Exceptions are in place for children under 18 as well as citizens, residents and returning nationals of the Federation. Children ages 11 and under who are accompanying their fully vaccinated parents or guardians take the vaccination status of their parents. Unvaccinated children ages 12-17 must test upon arrival and vacation in place with all family members while awaiting test results.

For all the Travel Protocols and Requirements remaining in place for the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis, including the submission of negative test results, please visit https://www.stkittstourism.kn/travel-requirements.

Below are the travel requirements for fully vaccinated visitors as of April 1, 2022:

  • All visitors 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. A visitor 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.
    • Unvaccinated children ages 12-17 will need to take a COVID-19 test (paid for by visitor) upon arrival; the entire family will need to vacation in place until receipt of negative COVID-19 test.
    • Children ages 11 and under take the vaccination status of their parents.

Submit negative COVID-19 test results; visitors may choose between:

  • RT-PCR negative test results from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEO 17025 standard, taken 72 hours prior to travel
  • Negative antigen test results from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEO 17025 standard, taken 24 hours prior to travel.
  • Travelers should note that no self-samples or home test will be considered valid.
  • Fill out the embarkation form and all other supporting documentation.
  • Fully vaccinated visitors will be required to submit a copy of their official vaccination record card including dates when doses were administered.
  • All incoming visitors must have a hard copy of their negative RT-PCR or antigen test results, and vaccination record card.
  • 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:

  • If the visitor’s application has not been flagged by Health Officials, visitors will be automatically processed and directed to Immigration.
  • In the event a visitor’s application is flagged, they will undergo health screening questions and if they exhibit any covid symptoms, the visitor will be required to take a COVID-19 test on site at the visitor’s expense.
  • Antigen tests are available for outbound air visitors 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 visitors whose countries of origin do not require return testing.

 

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Curaçao Launches ‘Spring, Sun and Savings’ Seasonal Offers

WILLEMSTAD – MARCH 28, 2022 – Recognized worldwide for its rich history, diverse culture, colorful architecture, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, the island of Curaçao is one the Caribbean’s most dynamic and inviting destinations catering to the diverse needs of today’s modern traveler. The Curaçao Tourist Board is making it easier than ever for curious travelers to immerse themselves in the destination through the launch of its digital deals portal: www.curacao-deals.com. Updated seasonally, the site will serve as a resource where travelers can familiarize themselves with the island’s top offers.

Following the recent removal of all testing for entry requirements and on-island COVID restrictions, like curfews and mask mandates, there is no better time than now to visit Curaçao and get to know its colors and culture. In celebration of eased entry requirements and year-round sun and spirit, the destination of Curaçao is proud to launch its “Spring, Sun and Savings” seasonal promotion.

Now through June 30th, travelers can enjoy limited time offers, such as discounted rates and VIP perks, at 12 participating properties, ranging from new resorts backed by the world’s leading hospitality brands to romance-driven boutique hotels, remote luxury villas, and family-friendly enclaves.

While deals vary per property, travelers can expect savings like:

  • Up to 40% off and $200 in resort coupons at AM Resorts properties, including the all-inclusive Dreams Curaçao and family friendly Sunscape Curaçao
  • $100 food and beverage credit for stays of four or more nights at Renaissance Curaçao
  • Up to 30% off, plus free breakfast at ACOYA Curaçao Resort & Villa
  • Stay longer and receive up to 15% off at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
  • Up to 25% off at Papagayo Beach Hotel and Papagayo Beach Resort
  • $100 resort credit when booking 5 nights or more at LionsDive Beach resort
  • Up to 15% off, plus free daily breakfast at the historic Avila Beach Hotel
  • 15% off per night at Bayside Boutique Hotel – Blue Bay
  • 10% off all bookings at Coral Estate Luxury Resort
  • Complimentary romantic upgrade like a beach picnic at Baoase Luxury Resort

For more information on Curaçao’s “Spring, Sun and Savings” promotion, including direct booking links and travel windows, please visit: www.curacao-deals.com.

For more information on the destination of Curaçao, please visit www.curacao.com.

CURAÇAO ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

On March 10th, Curaçao announced that it would no longer enforce testing as an entry requirement and would eliminate all on-island COVID restrictions, including mask mandates, nightly curfews, and proof of vaccination for large-scale events. The newly relaxed measures apply to the destination, though hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and tour operators may enforce protocols at their own discretion. Subsequently, it is recommended that travelers verify specific requirements or protocols directly with each venue.

Curaçao will continue to require travelers to complete its standard entry process for entry into the country as follows:

  1. Complete the digital immigration card online at www.dicardcuracao.com before departure.
  2. Digitally fill out the Passenger Locator Card (PLC) form 48 hours prior to departure and carry a printed document of proof with you.

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A Bahamian Welcome: Here’s How to Experience The Bahamas Like The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

NASSAU, Bahamas, 27 March 2022 – The Islands of The Bahamas experienced a very royal welcome. In line with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Bahamas from 24–26 March as part of their Royal Tour of the Caribbean.

The Royal Couple spent time across several Bahamian islands and experienced a ‘Taste of The Bahamas’, with stops in three of the country’s destinations: Nassau, Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“We are pleased to have hosted The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in The Bahamas to experience what makes our destination so unique,” said Deputy Prime Minister the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation. “The Royal Couple fully immersed themselves in Bahamian culture, with curated visits to three treasured islands. We hope that their trip will inspire other travellers to come experience the adventure waiting for them in our beautiful country.”

The tour kicked off in Nassau, with a Grand Cultural event featuring performances by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band, the Bahamas All-Stars Marching Band and a vibrant Junkanoo parade. The Duke and Duchess then travelled to Abaco and Grand Bahama Island.

To mark the royal visit, here are some of the most culturally immersive, locally-centric experiences that visitors can take part in during their travels to The Bahamas—which all provide an authentic taste and feel for Bahamian life.

Deep Dive into Culture in the Nation’s Capital – Nassau & Paradise Island

Nassau & Paradise Island is the tourism hub of The Bahamas, with its booming luxury resorts, casinos, dining, shopping and vibrant nightlife, yet the nation’s capital still holds true to its authentic Bahamian culture. From its celebrated People-to-People Programme, which pairs inquisitive travellers with local residents to experience the destination like a local, to its many historical landmarks such as The Queen’s Staircase, Fort Fincastle Historic Complex, Fort Montagu and Fort Charlotte. In the heart of downtown Nassau, visitors can stop by the Educulture Junkanoo Museum to learn more about the largest and most celebrated experience in The Bahamas: Junkanoo.

Island Hopping for an Immersive Visit – The Abacos

Surrounded by calm seas and beautiful beaches, The Abacos reign as one of the top boating destinations in the world, making it the ideal island-hopping bucket list spot for those who want to immerse themselves in multiple islands and cays. Visitors who experience the mainland, Marsh Harbour, can savour delicious cuisine at the local Fish Fry or head to Green Turtle Cay to experience the island’s historical itinerary stops, such as the Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden. For a picturesque view, add Elbow Cay to the list where one of the last standing manually operated  lighthouses in the world remains, or skip over to Man-O-War Cay, the ‘Boat-building capital of The Bahamas’, where visitors can experience first-hand the local boat-building shops.

Making a Difference with Coral Vita – Grand Bahama Island

The winner of the Duke of Cambridge’s Earthshot Prize in 2021 for its sustainability efforts, Coral Vita is a research and education centre that is quickly becoming a highly sought-after immersive experience on Grand Bahama Island. Coral Vita creates high-tech coral farms that incorporate breakthrough methods to restore reefs in the most effective way possible. The team partners with leading marine institutes, using techniques to grow coral up to 50 times faster while boosting their resiliency against the warming and acidifying oceans that threaten their survival. Coral fragments are then planted back into degraded reefs, restoring them back to life. Visitors can adopt a coral fragment to play their part in the fight against global warming or attend a tour which costs $15 per person. To learn more about the difference the farm is making, visit coralvita.co.

With 16 unique island destinations, there is a dream escape for everyone. To learn more about The Bahamas and to begin planning a tropical vacation, please visit bahamas.com.

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