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TTC Special: Caribbean tourism reopening underway but complex

Caribbean tourism recovers. Picture: Pixabay

by Frank Martin

Businessmen, officials and experts linked to Caribbean tourism believe that there will be a regional recovery in 2021 but agree that the process will be complex and diverse.

A common point of view is that for everything to go well, the health crisis must be managed effectively and under a solidarity program.

The Covid-19 epidemic really damaged the potential of the Caribbean economy and healthcare structures. Therefore, an essential first step to reopening would be a massive and successful immunity campaign.

The main element to achieve this goal is vaccines, but also the acceptance that certain restrictions and regulations will continue to exist for a long time.

One sector extremely interested in a fast and safe reopening process is hotel and accommodation owners and managers who are already trying to adapt to the partial reopening situation.

Governments and businesses in the Caribbean are making adjustments and exploring new ways of thinking about both destinations and source markets for tourists.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association support a strategy depending on turning green lights to make way for international tourism.

Organizers of that branch know that a point for those who make a living from the entertainment industry is consumer confidence.

The explanation is very simple: if there are no customers, there is no industry.

Consumers obviously expect accurate and reliable information about the places they want to visit.

The epidemic has been so severe and widespread that even as it is receding accurate data is required to allay concerns about inhibiting arrivals.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association emphasized that this information must be accurate in terms of infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths related to Covid-19.

The figures, especially at this time of prudent openings, are essential to accept the regulations, restrictions and requirements to be met.

Experts think is necessary consumers see how they can easily book, where they go, what the protocols are and how high is the trust level they could accept as normal.

The same forecasts that predict openings, warn that these will not be quick or complete.

World tourism will still have to live indefinitely with vaccination certificates, detection tests and with mandatory quarantines of sanitary regulations in accommodation, tourist places and entire countries.

Of course, accepting new regulations is not and will not be easy. That is why destinations like the Caribbean are and will be subject to scrutiny not only about Covid-19 but also indefinitely for their sanitary conditions.

Measures and precautions regarding the pandemic remain crucial and will be for some time to come.

According to Dr. Joy St John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) the pandemic caused 175,000 active cases till now.

About 773.000 of that cases were registered in the Greater Caribbean and 164 million worldwide.

Those are eloquent figures. That is why health specialists want a solidarity program in the Caribbean especially about the vaccination campaign.

“We are making sure that we have the closest thing to herd immunity, that is, 70 to 90 percent of the population, vaccinated, as we can,” Dra St John explained.

FM

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