With borders now reopening in the Caribbean, Abra Dunsby examines how the market is faring.
The Caribbean is no stranger to crises and disaster management, having endured countless hurricanes over the years.
Its strategic approach and quick reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak – by locking down and closing borders swiftly – is perhaps one of the reasons the region suffered relatively low numbers of virus cases, a fact it hopes will help draw visitors back once travel safely resumes once again.
Many of the islands are hoping to welcome tourists back as soon as possible by reopening their borders this month and next, with a phased opening of the region and various measures in place to ensure tourism comes back safely.
Saint Lucia was the first to open its borders to international tourists on 4 June, with visitors required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight. Antigua and Barbuda also opened to tourists on that same date.
Jamaica was next, reopening its borders on 15 June, with all arrivals screened via thermal temperature checks and symptoms observation, with testing on arrival obligatory for all. The country’s health and safety protocols are reassessed every two weeks.
Turks and Caicos will follow, opening its borders on 22 July.
With the UK currently enforcing a two-week quarantine for those entering the country and the FCO still warning against all but essential travel, it’s unlikely British tourists will be among the first to return to the Caribbean, yet there are glimmers of positivity, which include British Airways’ plans to recommence flights to Antigua and Kingtson, Jamaica in July.
Clients who visit the region will not only find dazzling beaches with gin-clear water thanks to the lack of tourism due to lockdown, they’ll also be able to help jump-start one of the world’s most tourism-dependent economies.