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TTC Special: Cautious tourist openings while vaccines arrive 

TTC Special: Cautious tourist openings while vaccines arrive

Foto: thevisualsyouneed/123RF

By Frank Martin 

The battered international tourism industry begins to show worldwide signs of life with a cautious openings after months of immobility.

The restart of operations in the leisure industry comes even amid risks that still persisting due to the pandemic.

But the doors of international tourist destinations are not opened ignoring the possible high healthcare costs. No expert in the world denies that vaccines are the ultimate solution to the dark pandemic.

However, the tourism economies have already reached a very low point due to the long stagnation dictated by Covid-19.

Since the end of 2020, the main international organizations related to the tourism industry have recommended extremely cautious openings, closely linked to sanitary measures.

Following his example, the Caribbean islands have already begun to move. The Caribbean authorities show an early active outlook at the beginning of the new year.

Cuba, for example, began accepting tourist travelers in June 2020. Last October the island reopened international airports under a rigorous program of sanitary measures.

This first stage was part of the so-called “new normal.” Well-equipped paradisiacal islets off the Cuban coast, away from the largest cities, offered tropical beaches and luxury hotels.

Even today, with a still high risk of the Covid-19 epidemic around the world, the island achieved some successes in its opening.

Cuban medical care achieved zero rates of Covid-19 even in Varadero, a beach just 130 kilometers from Havana.

It is true that tourist arrivals to Cuba in 2019 exceeded 4,500,000 tourists. It is also very likely that by the end of 2021 the figures will be far from that number.

But the inertia caused by the pandemic has already been broken.

Dusting off the Cuban tourism plans the Cuban Ministry of Tourism has just presented a calendar of tourism events for 2021-2022.

By 2021, it is expected that more than 180 national and international events will be held with foreign participation in hotels on the island.  The ministry announced that the meetings will study science and technology, culture, social sciences, sports, education and, of course, tourism.

The reopening has already started in Jamaica. One of the most visited Caribbean destinations is  the English spoken island.  The Jamaican  “recovery” strategies are already being applied with the reactivation of flights and commercial initiatives.

Virtual meetings on resilience, recovery and income generation initiatives, global sales and marketing teams of the Jamaica Tourism Board (JTB) are already taking place.

An official source from that island told TTC that those meetings facilitated the strategic planning of the winter period of 2021.

Representatives from the United States, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe attended these December 2020 meetings.

Dominican Republic also advances in a recovery movement.

The digital publication Dominican Today revealed that the country continued its recovery in the last days of December despite the projected losses of more than 57 million dollars by Covid-19.

During the last month of 2020, the level of flights increased by 72%, making the country more attractive to the aviation sector in the last three months, according to that ministry.

The government considers the recovery expectations satisfactory after restarting the operations of the German and French airlines.

Bahamas takes the first steps towards restoration despite the terrible epidemic there.

The government of these islands has recognized a “blow to the body” in its recovery from the uncertainty of the cruise industry and the situation of the epidemic in the United States.

Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation, told reporters that the Bahamas’ efforts to restart its main industry had been “victims” of the inability of its largest visitor source market to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

D’Aguilar explained that the Bahamas destination is “tied with a hook, line and sinker” with the United States, which contributes 82 percent of its tourism market.

Despite this dependence, the Bahamas is taking very cautious first steps out of the situation.

The experts mentioned that the key to the Bahamas’ recovery would be in the hands of the US and European international cruise industry.

Nowadays the Tourism Caribbean region opened is still waiting for much more arrivals of big cruise ships not only from America but from Europe.

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