The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) secretariat has welcomed 19 Caribbean destinations being included in the government’s quarantine exemption list, but said there was “still confusion” from consumers around travel to the region.
Speaking at the Caribbean Roadmap to Recovery post-Covid-19 virtual event last week, Carol Hay, secretariat of the UK and Europe division of the CTO, said the government’s travel corridor announcements on 3 July marked a step in the right direction for the region, with countries including Grenada, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica on the list.
She added the Caribbean was “working towards recovery”, with airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic due to recommence flights to Barbados from this summer, and flights to Antigua and Jamaica set to resume from October.
However, the air bridge list includes some notable exceptions such as Dominican Republic, said Colin Pegler, the CTO’s UK and Europe chapter chair.
He criticised the government for making “political decisions” on whether to include certain countries on its list, rather than making safety the priority, stressing the impact of Covid-19 in Dominican Republic had only been about a tenth of that in the UK.
“[They] should be scared of us going there, not the other way around,” he said.
The virtual session also heard from Jo Johnson, associate director at PR and marketing agency Lotus, which represents Dominican Republic in the UK.
She confirmed BA is planning to restart flights to the destination from 1 September, with hotels, golf resorts and restaurants scheduled to reopen earlier, from 1 August.
Safety measures at Domincan Republic’s airports include requiring travellers to complete an affidavit of health, temperature checks and Covid-19 tests for those with temperatures above 38°C and contactless boarding pass readers.
Meanwhile, hotels in the destination will operate with 50% capacity from August to help protect travellers.
Rob Bates, PR and social media manager for the Grenada Tourism Authority, revealed that Grenada is planning a phased reopening of its borders and “hopes to welcome flights and arrivals from the UK from 1 August”.