Dominica launches “Safe in Nature” Commitment for visitors

Roseau, Dominica – (October 5, 2020) Dominica has launched Safe in Nature, a programme geared at providing a safe experience to visitors from major tourism markets to the Nature Island during this COVID-19 pandemic. The Safe in Nature logo was also launched to the public.

The Safe in Nature commitment program is a result of the collective work of The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Discover Dominica Authority, Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association along with other tourism stakeholders, geared to revive the tourism industry.

Safe in Nature commitment program will ensure a managed experience throughout the first 5 – 7 days of visitors arriving to Dominica.  This managed experience includes the transportation services to and from the ports of entry, stay at a certified accommodation to include the activities and amenities on site, transportation services to select locations for destination activities,  These destination activities include water based and land based activities.

Safe in Nature also involves the holistic care of visitors to the Nature Island.  Wellness, being a major part of the lifestyle here on Dominica translates to Safe in Nature through the provision of wholesome and delicious creole cuisine, to local herbal teas and rum punches to cure all ailments, to our natural sulphur spas and of course natural skin care products.

“We are excited to announce the Safe in Nature commitment brand! To those thinking about travel, those thinking about visiting us to experience our rich cultural celebrations and cuisine, those needing a well-deserved break from chaos and crowds, those needing rejuvenation, we extend a warm invitation to Dominica where you, your family and friends will be Safe in Nature!”  Words from the Honourable Denise Charles, Minister for Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives.

With the launch of Dominica’s Caricom Travel Bubble in August which affords persons from select destinations relaxed entry and on-island requirements to now launching Safe in Nature, Dominica guarantees its visitors a true nature island feel on island while maintaining the safety of Dominicans and visitors alike.

Samantha Letang, Marketing Executive at Discover Dominica Authority expressed that “Dominica is not only a vacation, but a discovery and travel to Dominica especially now, can be transformative and the antidote to relieve the stress that many individuals and families are currently feeling.”

She states, “Dominica affords its visitors with world renowned diving, secluded sites and attractions perfect for distancing, top class hiking, out of the ordinary romantic escapes, an indigenous Kalinago population, healthy and tasty cuisine and so much more. And now we give you all this guaranteeing you will be Safe in Nature.

The tourism sector has definitely been heavily hit by this pandemic but with increased opportunities afforded through new partnerships in the airline industry along with solidifying those existing relationships, and now with the Safe in Nature commitment to visitors offering a managed experience while on island, the tourism sector now has the opportunity to re-cover.

Details of “Safe in Nature” managed experience can be found on the travel advisory page of Discover Dominica Authority at www.discoverdominica.com. Visitors should look to the actual experiences from their preferred accommodations who will detail such in the near future as the experiences are approved.

For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045, or visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com, follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.

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Aruba’s Online ED Card, mitigating the crisis concerns on the island

The COVID-19 crisis proves that automation is of huge importance now more than ever. With many restrictions being lifted and borders re-opening, the travel industry and governments are ready to implement new measures and strict rules that travelers should adhere to. An online ED card or tourism card is one of the tools being used by most governments in order to gather valuable information beforehand of the incoming travelers.

Gamma IT Solutions, an Aruban based software development company, is the developer of Aruba’s Online ED card (www.edcardaruba.aw), which is a full-fledged and fully automated Immigration Platform. The Online ED Card is making it possible for the concerned Aruban authorities to implement the first filters in pre-screening future travelers to Aruba and making it possible to re-open Aruba’s borders again.

The Online ED Card or tourism card as developed by Gamma IT Solutions is an important tool for the government of any country looking to gather valuable data beforehand of the incoming travelers. Given that each country determines their own safety measures, one of the best features of the Online ED Card is that it is fully customizable to meet the requirements and policies of each country.

The Online ED Card of Aruba has thus far been able to gather valuable data with regards to health concerns of the Aruban government such as:

  • The introduction of health related questions on the Immigration Platform as the first line of defense for denying travelers wanting to visit Aruba that have COVID related symptoms;
  • The possibility to upload a negative Corona test within 72 hours before arriving on Aruba to allow healthy travelers to visit Aruba;
  • Offering an integrated payment solution within the Immigration Platform allowing future travelers to Aruba to pay for the mandatory Aruba COVID insurance and pre-pay for a test to be conducted upon arrival in Aruba;
  • An automated check and filter for travelers coming from risk states within the USA requiring  them to upload a negative PCR test before flying to Aruba;
  • An automated check and filter for denying travelers flying in from countries of which Aruba has closed its borders to;
  • An integrated solution with the Health Department where the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) made it possible that all health-related information is collected by the Immigration Platform and provided to health department to examine future visitors upfront.

Gamma IT Solutions, also being the developer of RADEX BCMS, the Border Control Management System of Aruba, has made it possible to integrate all the information gathered by the Online ED Card into the RADEX BCMS database. The authorized government entities in charge will be able to look up the data and have the current and accurate information about the travelers entering and leaving the country.

In terms of Border Control Management, the Online ED Card has made it possible to make the Immigration Platform mandatory for all travelers. This has eliminated the use of the physical ED card which immediately leads to:

  • No more scanning of the physical ED cards by Immigration Officers which reduces the processing time of travelers by 40%;
  • Airlines do not have to purchase the physical ED cards anymore; this is very environmentally friendly;
  • Cleaner data, which improves the overall quality of RADEX BCMS data and tourism data.

Like Aruba, many countries are putting their own safety measures and policies in place in order to re-open their borders. One of the many advantages of having a border control management system as RADEX BCMS, is that it can be integrated with any online ED Card and/or tourism card of any country.

So far, the automation of the Online ED Card has also brought many benefits for the local authorities of Aruba. By having the data on-hand, before the travelers arrive in Aruba, authorities are able to make better arrangements to accommodate the number of travelers.

This includes arrangements related to:

  • Staffing of immigration personnel;
  • Staffing of airport personnel;
  • Taxi’s
  • Etc.

An Online ED Card or tourism card can have many benefits for any country. It is equally important to have a Border Control Management System such as RADEX BCMS in place, which allows the systems to interact and provide valuable information to all relevant authorities. RADEX BCMS is a complete Border Control Management System with the latest hard- and software for multi-biometric capture and search capabilities. The key features of RADEX include first-stage processing, which involves checks against stolen passport databases, multiple wanted lists, and any other database a country desires; second-stage processing, which includes multi-biometric search and enrollment; reporting; security; and administration.

When these two measures (Online ED Card/Tourism Card and a border control system) are combined, it will expedite the work of many government entities pursuing to assure the safety and security of not only the incoming travelers, but especially that of their citizens.

 

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Montserrat launches new Destination Website

Brades, Montserrat – October 8, 2020 – The Montserrat Tourism Division has launched a new destination website – www.visitmontserrat.com.  Director of Tourism, Warren Solomon commented, “This is a major step in enhancing our marketing capabilities. The website will play a key role in generating awareness, providing users with compelling stories and information on the island’s history, culture, sites and attractions, giving them all that they need to book a Montserrat vacation.”

The website was developed by Trinidad & Tobago-based Webfx (formerly Toucan Ltd), which beat out some fifteen other companies from the USA, Canada, the UK, India and the Caribbean who responded to the Invitation to Tender. “A strong digital media presence is essential for a tourist destination, especially in light of COVID-19. The Montserrat Tourism Division took the right steps to invest in one now,” noted Douglas Ames, Chief Dishwasher at Webfx.

Another objective of the new website is to create an enabling environment for Montserrat’s tourism stakeholders to promote their services, giving visitors to the site a more holistic experience of the destination. The launch of the website is a key milestone in the implementation of the island’s Tourism Strategy and received valuable inputs, not just from members of the local tourism industry, but also international travel and media partners.

The website incorporates striking imagery and video content and the primary goal during the design phase was to create a more user-centric and responsive resource across all platforms and devices. A new feature that was not part of previous versions of the destination website is a dedicated section outlining all of the requirements and application forms for individuals or media companies interested in coming to film in Montserrat.

While leisure travel to the island is still prohibited, the Tourism Division views it as critical that the destination remains visible to the travel market, so that when the borders are re-opened, Montserrat will be one of the warm-weather destinations being considered by consumers.

 

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The Bahamas Introduces New Travel and Testing Protocols

NASSAU, Bahamas, 1st October 2020 – The Islands of The Bahamas remains committed to welcoming visitors to its shores and providing an exceptional tropical vacation coupled with our world famous warm and friendly hospitality, while, responsibly enforcing public health and safety measures to protect residents and visitors alike.

While 15th October is still set for the reopening of the tourism sector, until 31st October all incoming visitors must “Vacation in Place” for 14 days or the duration of stay, whichever is shorter, which means limiting the vacation experience to the grounds and amenities of a traveler’s hotel or accommodations. Beginning 1st November, The Bahamas will remove the mandatory “Vacation in Place” requirement for all visitors, returning citizens and residents thereby, enabling everyone to move about and explore the destination beyond the confines of their hotel or other accommodations.

The new protocols will require visitors, and returning citizens and residents to obtain a RT-PCR (swab) test no more than seven (7) days prior to their travel to The Bahamas.

In addition, and to ensure that travelers remain COVID free, a rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival, and then again four days (96 hours) after arrival in The Bahamas. Children ten (10) and under are exempt from taking a rapid antigen test.

Specifics are as follows:

Prior to Travel:
COVID-19 RT-PCR Test: All persons traveling to The Bahamas must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test taken no more than seven (7) days prior to the date of arrival. The name and address of the lab, where the test was performed, must be clearly displayed on the test result.
o Children ten (10) and under and pilots and crew of commercial airlines, who remain overnight in The Bahamas, are exempt from obtaining the RT-PCR test.

Bahamas Health Travel Visa: Once in possession of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, all travelers will then be required to apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at travel.gov.bs (click on the International Tab) where the required test must be uploaded.

The cost of the visa will depend on the length of stay.

Upon Arrival
Day of Arrival (Day One): Rapid Test – All persons entering The Bahamas, at an approved Port of Entry, will receive a Rapid COVID-19 antigen test.

If arriving by air, an approved Port of Entry will be: Nassau, Freeport, Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera, Georgetown (Exuma), Bimini (and Cat Cay) and San Andros (Andros).

If arriving by sea, an approved Port of Entry will be: Nassau (Atlantis, Bay Street Marina, Lyford Cay, Albany and Nassau Yacht Haven); Grand Bahama (West End – Old Bahama Bay and Freeport – Lucaya); Abaco (Marsh Harbour Government Dock); Eleuthera (Spanish Wells Marina); Berry Islands (Chubb Cay Club); Bimini (Big Game Club and Cat Cay Club); Exuma (Georgetown Government Dock).

American Airlines has indicated that, beginning in late October, they wish to provide each passenger traveling to The Bahamas from Miami with a Rapid COVID-19 antigen test before boarding the plane. These passengers, along with the passengers of any other airlines wishing to provide a similar service, will not be required to complete the Rapid Test upon arrival in The Bahamas.

After Arrival
• Day Five (96 hours after arrival): Rapid Test – All persons who entered The Bahamas, and who are staying longer than four nights and five days, will be required to take a second Rapid COVID-19 antigen test. To be clear, all visitors departing on Day Five will not be required to obtain this test.

The cost of the rapid tests on and after arrival will be included in the cost of the visa.

The rapid tests are easy, quick and will yield results in 20 minutes or less with results being provided electronically.

Many hotel properties will provide relevant information on testing arrangements, while others will facilitate the required rapid test for their guests.

All persons on yachts and other pleasure craft will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website.

All other visitors, returning residents and citizens will be able to make arrangements for their required rapid tests at the port of entry or via the relevant website.

The On Island Experience:
All islands in The Bahamas require the wearing of masks and appropriate social distancing in public places.

The Bahamas has remained diligent in its efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout the islands, and these measures are imperative to ensure that remains the case. The health and wellbeing of both residents and visitors remain the number one priority of our public health officials. It is important to note, however, that due to fluidity of the COVID-19 situation, both in The Bahamas and worldwide, protocols are subject to change.

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St. Kitts & Nevis to Reopen Borders on October 31, 2020

Basseterre, St. Kitts (October 1, 2020) – St. Kitts & Nevis is pleased to once again welcome visitors to its shores beginning October 31, 2020. In order to ensure a responsible reopening of its borders, the Federation is the last Caribbean destination to do so.

The CDC recently assessed the Federation’s Covid-19 risk as very low and designated it as “No Travel Notice” required, having had only 19 cases of the Coronavirus, no community spread and no deaths.

“We have been working diligently to prepare for this reopening to ensure that we are ready to welcome travelers by training and certifying local businesses and individuals in the health and safety protocols they are required to meet and be certified in to be permitted to operate,” said the Hon. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports. “This is particularly important as we encourage visitors to explore our islands beyond their hotels to experience what makes us a unique, authentic and quintessential Caribbean experience.”

The Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Aviation, added, “The genuinely friendly people of St. Kitts & Nevis are a key component of our tourism product, so the protocols we have established aim to provide for their safety in interacting with visitors as well as visitors’ safety in interacting with our people. It is critical to travelers’ perceptions of St. Kitts & Nevis as a safe and desirable destination of choice as well as to citizens and residents own safety in embracing their return.”

The twin-island Federation has received international recognition of their successful management of the first wave of the global pandemic as a result of early and aggressive testing, contact tracing and quarantine program along with an “All of Society Approach” that includes mask-wearing in public, social distancing and sanitization protocols to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Key outlets such as the BBC, Sky News and Tripoto have named St. Kitts & Nevis among the few countries in the world to have effectively “beat” the virus.

Ongoing and careful consultation with the Chief Medical Officer and Ministry of Health to fully develop and implement health and safety protocols for the entire industry was paramount to ensure the well-being of all citizens, residents and visitors. In fact, for business to reopen, tourism industry businesses, employers and employees must undergo “Travel Approved” training for their respective sector/business/department and upon completion of the training they receive the “Travel Approved” Certification and Seal. The “Travel Approved” Certification and Seal provides assurance to citizens, residents and visitors the destination is ensuring health and safety protocols are not compromised in St. Kitts & Nevis and can be trusted.

It was only then St. Kitts & Nevis decided to reopen its borders.

About St. Kitts & Nevis
Located in the northern Leeward islands where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean is the captivating twin-island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Step off the beaten track in this uncrowded quintessential Caribbean destination to discover a distinctive array of tourism activities and astonishing natural beauty.

Experiences ranging from one-of-a-kind attractions such as the UNESCO recognized Brimstone Hill Fortress Park and The Sugar Train, the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger railway in St. Kitts to the birth place of America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton in Nevis bring the historic past of the first European outpost in the Caribbean to life.

Authentic “hidden gems” abound, including local restaurants that grill up the catch of the day to barefoot beach bars and private inlets for swimming or anchoring a sailing vessel or yacht.

Become immersed in nature with a hike up the rainforested Mt. Liamuiga in St. Kitts or Nevis Peak in Nevis, then take to the water for kayaking, speedboating or a scenic catamaran sail along the coast. When the beach beckons, head to one of many secluded stretches of sand to soak in the Caribbean sun until at day’s end it silently slips below the horizon.

St. Kitts & Nevis is a secret treasure just waiting to be discovered. Learn more at www.stkittstourism.kn and www.nevisisland.com.

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