A Different Tourism Will Emerge From COVID-19, says CTO SG

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (18 June, 2020)  – Tourism in the Caribbean and the rest of the world will be considerably different as countries begin to reopen their borders to international traffic following the forced closures occasioned by the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), says the region’s top tourism official.

Neil Walters, the acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), predicts closer alignment of tourism and health functions as destinations seek to reassure potential visitors that their health, safety and well-being are being taken seriously.

Walters says not only did the pause in tourism activity hurt Caribbean economies and disrupt lives, but it also allowed Caribbean countries to retrain workers across the sector and improve the product.

“But one thing that has become critical is that the tourism that emerges from this pause will be different from the tourism that paused at the end of March. And the key way it will be different is that now tourism will be living and functioning with COVID-19. That means that there will be a significant integration of tourism and health functions across the world – not just in the Caribbean – and the Caribbean as arguably the most tourism-dependent region in the world has had to do the same thing: integrate tourism functions to ensure the safety and health of visitors and locals alike,” he says in the final episode of the CTO podcast, COVID-19: The Unwanted Visitor.

“Although it has been economically impactful, that pause has actually given our destinations the chance to get that new process right, to work on getting it right, and to ensure that they reopen in a way that there’s a level of comfort on all sides,” he stresses.

The acting secretary general also emphasises the level of collaboration among member countries, saying he hopes this will continue.

“I’ve been very heartened by the level of collaboration that I’ve seen throughout this process. I hope that collaboration continues. That is the way this region and the brand Caribbean will become stronger. Even in the face of all the uncertainty we faced recently, that collaboration is key.  I think that once we continue that collaboration, the spirit that it has been done in so far, the region which we live in will bounce back,” he says.

This is the final episode in this series of podcasts, which covered a range of subjects, including coping with working from home during lockdown, consumer trust, the aviation and hospitality sectors and how the English-speaking Caribbean contained the virus.

The podcast is available on a number of platforms, including Anchor, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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

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Puerto Rico to resume in-bound tourism next month

As part of the Island’s responsible four-phased reopening plan, Puerto Rico announced it will formally reopen for in-bound tourism on July 15. However, beaches have reopened with sunbathing and other recreational activities now permitted limiting group gathering to only those within the same household.

One thing to point out, as you may know, is that Puerto Rico has exercised an abundance of caution since the onset of COVID-19, with policies in place to avoid the spread of the virus throughout the Island, including being the first U.S. entity to implement strict measures such as an Island-wide curfew. Thorough cleanliness measures are in place Island-wide, and enhanced policies are being implemented that follow the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) Health and Safety guideline along with locally enforced measures, developed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.

Below are some additional quick tidbits travelers should know as they plan their visit to Puerto Rico:
Island Curfew
• A curfew remains in effect through June 30th but has been extended from 10:00PM – 5:00AM; exceptions are for emergencies.
• Beaches have reopened with sunbathing and other recreational activities now permitted limiting group gathering to only those within the same household.
• Hotel pools are open and increasing capacity to 50% starting June 16.
• Restaurants are open and increasing capacity to 50% starting June 16.
• Malls and other retail stores remain open, but no leisure strolling is permitted for now. Appointments required.
• Casinos and playgrounds will remain closed until further notice.

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

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Montserrat Issues Pre-travel Registration and Protocols for Select Travelers

June 12, 2020, Government Information Unit/Montserrat Tourism Division, Brades, Montserrat – The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) and the Access Division have implemented a pre-travel registration process and other protocols, for select persons traveling to Montserrat. These measures make provisions for the following categories of travelers to the island:
• Montserratians
• Individuals who hold a permit of permanent residence
• A person who is ordinarily resident in Montserrat
• A member of the crew of an aircraft or ship (including freight, cargo or courier craft or vessel
• Husband, wife, child or other dependent of a Montserratian or permanent resident
• Non-resident technician, once permission has been granted for the person to disembark in Montserrat prior to travelling to Montserrat
• Any other person, as may be determined by the Minister of Health & Social Services for the purpose of the suppression of COVID-19.

Such persons, however, must register to travel to Montserrat by completing and submitting the ‘Access Declaration Form’ at least 72 hours prior to the expected date of arrival. This facility only allows entry into Montserrat by air at the John A. Osborne Airport and is not extended to access by ferry. The electronic ‘Access Declaration Form’ is available on the government website at www.gov.ms.

During the travel and arrival process, several protocols are also in place to minimize the potential risk of exposure to COVID-19. These are as follows:

1. All passengers must wear a mask or face covering on the aircraft and at the Airport
2. Upon arrival, Health Officials will screen passengers and conduct temperature checks before allowing them to proceed through Immigration.
The screening process will include questions regarding travel history, address/place of residence for the last 14 days, accommodation arrangements while on Montserrat and transportation arrangements from the Airport to the address in Montserrat.
3. All persons arriving in Montserrat will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days; the host and family may also be required to self-quarantine. Following an assessment, the Ministry of Health & Social Services will make a determination as to whether or not the entire household should be quarantined.

The only exception to the self-quarantine requirement is for a visiting, non-resident technician, whose movement would be restricted to travel between his/her accommodation and the location of the job. The person would be required to wear a mask at all times and to exercise physical distancing while at the job location and place of accommodation.
Persons arriving on Montserrat are reminded that in accordance with the Public Health Order, they may be subject to medical examinations and that Medical Officers are authorized to:

a) Conduct clinical examinations
b) Isolate any person considered to have a high risk of being infected with COVID-19.

The Government of Montserrat continues its phased approach to re-opening its borders and remains guided by local, regional and international health authorities. The island is currently observing a daily 10pm – 5am curfew.

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

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Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Prepared for Phase 1 Reopening June 15

All Islands of The Bahamas Will Reopen to International Boaters, Yachters and Private Aviation

NASSAU, Bahamas, June 12, 2020 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has announced the destination will begin Phase 1 of the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan on Monday, June 15, which welcomes international boaters, yachters and private aviation back to Bahamian shores, across all The Islands Of The Bahamas.

During Phase 1, hotels will also reopen for staff to return to work and put in place all the measures required to ensure they are ready to welcome guests at the onset of Phase 2.

Commercial airlines will also be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners qualifying for economic permanent residency, or the immediate family members or significant others of any of these groups. It is anticipated that during this period of time there will be a reduced flight schedule as airlines begin adding The Bahamas to their schedules once again.

This is the first part of the strategic, phased reopening approach for the tourism sector that ensures critical health and safety protocols are being adhered to, and that the Health sector remains well equipped and ready to respond as necessary. The plan was constructed by The Bahamas Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, a group comprised of public and private sector partners. Allowing Phase 1 access to these smaller, special interest groups will allow a more controlled segment to test the country’s new measures. The second phase will commence on July 1 with the resumption of international commercial travel.

Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for International boaters, yachters and private aviation visiting The Bahamas between June 15 – June 30 are, as follows:

  • A COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test is required and must be presented upon arrival. Results must be no more than ten (10) days old.
    • Children under the age of two are not required to take a test.
    • Private pilots who do not deplane are not required to take a test.
  • All travellers – both domestic and international – are required to complete an Electronic Health Declaration Form at travel.gov.bs prior to departure and for any inter-island travel within The Bahamas. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travellers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination This is an important step for contact tracing purposes.
  • No quarantine will be required upon arrival (if all steps are met).
  • Failure to comply with the test requirements and heath form submission will result in denied entry.
  • Boaters must inform marina at least 48 hours prior to vessel’s arrival.

This June 15 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allow for inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents.

Per the direction of the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Bahamian Citizens, Residents and Homeowners Returning from CARICOM countries are not required to present a COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival. However, they remain subject to other public health measures.

Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement, or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case. For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit: www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.

All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health. For questions or concerns, please call the COVID-19 hotline: 242-376-9350 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8 p.m. – 8 a.m. EDT).

For re-entry FAQs please visit https://www.bahamas.com/sites/default/files/bahamas_re-entry_faq_6-9-20.pdf



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

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St. Kitts & Nevis Phased Approach to Resume Social and Economic Activities Update #1

Basseterre, St. Kitts (June 12, 2020) – Today, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris announced that, under the new SR&O No. 25 of 2020, Government will be introducing new regulations. Effective Saturday, June 13, 2020 through Saturday, June 27, 2020, the new regulations are part of the process of gradually relaxing restrictions and reintroducing the Federation to more economic and social activity. The Prime Minister announced-
• Saturdays through Sundays, nightly curfews will be in effect from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The shorter nightly curfews will facilitate nightly religious services with the same protocols already established for daytime services.
• Beaches will now be open from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily for the purpose of exercise
• The suspension of retail liquor licenses has been removed and bars can open in compliance with physical distancing measures
• Restaurants can open for in-dining in compliance with physical distancing measures, maximum per table allocations and appropriate sanitization programs.
• Restaurant patrons are required to wear masks on arrival except when eating and drinking.
The borders of St. Kitts & Nevis remain closed to commercial traffic by air and sea to prevent and/or delay the possibility of importing new cases of COVID-19 to the Federation. A coordinated effort is being made with regional and international partners to determine the opportune time at which to open the borders.

The continuing relaxation of restrictions is being implemented at the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer, the Medical Chief of Staff and medical experts. At their advice, the Federation has successfully flattened the curve.

On May 18, it was announced that all 15 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Federation have successfully recovered and there have been 0 deaths to date. As of Wednesday, June 10, a total of 417 persons have been sampled and tested for COVID-19, 15 of whom tested positive with 402 persons tested negative and 0 test results pending. 13 persons are currently quarantined in a government facility while 0 persons are quarantined at home and 0 persons are in isolation. A total of 829 persons have been released from quarantine.

St. Kitts & Nevis has one of the highest testing rates in CARICOM and the Eastern Caribbean and uses only the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which is the gold standard of testing. The Federation was the last country in the Americas to confirm a case of the virus and among the first to report all cases having recovered with no deaths.

Click here to read the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations as part of the Government’s response to contain and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Government continues to act under the counsel of its medical experts, who advised that St. Kitts & Nevis has met the 6 criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO) for doing so and that all persons who need to be tested have been tested at this time.

Cathy A. Preece / Candice Kimmel
Adams Unlimited
P: (646) 898-2065 / E: cathy@adams-pr.com
For Immediate Release

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

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