As some Caribbean destinations continue to slowly reopen their borders to visitors, a Caribbean Tourism COVID-19 Task Force has introduced a set of guidelines and training to help countries put protocols in place.
Included in the guidelines is a set of “proposed requirements for moving around in the CARICOM space”.
The requirements call for proof of a negative COVID-19 test from travellers, with the recommendation being that the test was carried out in the last 48-hours.
Under its general health guidelines, the task force is also proposing increased screening regime by commercial transportations; physical distancing; the wearing of masks; hand hygiene; quarantine at home, government facility or hotel; temperature screening and adequate signage at accommodations.
The COVID-19 tourism task force is also advocating for real-time monitoring via a confidential early warning and response web-based system and specific handling and responses to COVID-19 cases in hotels and tourism accommodation establishments.
A COVID-19 travellers health app is also to be introduced as part of the measures within the next two weeks to provide information about what is happening in the Caribbean.
Individuals using the app will be able to have real-time monitoring of destinations and access information regarding the pandemic and measures being used by hotels.
The task force Wednesday launched training on Caribbean health and safety sanitation guidelines which are intended to help guide tourism and hospitality officials and governments as they start welcoming visitors.
The task force, which was set up in March, consists of representatives from the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Global Tourism Resiliency and Crisis Management Centre.
Adamant that all should be done to ensure the safety of every citizen and visitors as borders reopen to commercial flights, the task force officials said that clearly articulated protocols were needed in all destinations and among industry players.
Chief Executive Officer and Director General of the CHTA Frank Camito said he understood why there seemed to be a lack of cohesiveness among countries in the region in relation to reopening of borders and protocols, pointing out that there were several limitations including the availability of testing kits, capacity for testing given the number of tourists they welcome on average, and “some sovereignty issues”.
Several countries in the Caribbean have already announced an official reopening of their airport for tourists and have implemented health measures in that regard.
Despite initially suggesting a July 1 date for international commercial flights from source markets to return to the Grantley Adams International Airport, authorities in Bridgetown are yet to commit and say what protocols would be implemented.
Camito said: “We are advocating for testing. There is no doubt about it. We believe it is important to the health and safety of our residents and employees and the travellers. But we recognize there is a variance of capacity and circumstances within different jurisdictions.
“What we are providing are guidelines. Most jurisdictions are actually adhering to this and some will make decisions in their own ways as to what works best for their destination.”
The CHTA head said that after extensive engagement and review of the proposed guidelines with stakeholders, the response has been “incredibly positive”.
The task force kicked off its training with civil servants yesterday and have started to issue a range of flyers with information on the protocols. In the first phase, training will run until July 22.
CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass said that by being cohesive in its guidelines and protocols, the Caribbean could gain an advantage.
She said: “I think the ability for us to say across the region that we are all following a common set of guidelines, a minimum standard with respect to safety and security, gives us an extremely powerful marketing message and strong message of assurance to people who are visiting the region.
“Yes, there is the question of sovereignty of each of our destinations, but throughout this process, there has been active engagement at the level of the public sector, at the level of [the] health sector and certainly at the level of the private sector, and for those destinations for example, that have re-opened in advance of the protocols, we have been in active dialogue with them and what they are doing has been informed by our effort and vice-versa.” She gave an assurance that the efforts were well-coordinated.
She added: “This is one of those situations where it is extremely important that visitors to the region understand the importance of following the protocols that have been implemented for their safety and for the safety and security and wellbeing of the places they are visiting”.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the CTO Neil Walters said: “As it stands, at this stage in our history, tourism is the lifeblood of the region and we must do all that we can to ensure that when we reopen our destinations, which are in the process of doing so, that we do so in the right way.
“I believe these protocols will help us along with the individual national efforts that have taken place so far to do the reopening in the right way.”
6 Replies to “‘Taskforce’ introduces travel protocols as region reopens”
While I understand the need to keep citizens of tne CARICOM islands safe, these restrictive protocols ensure there will NOT be any tourists visiting from Canada, and likely the US. COVID-19 test results are NOT available within 48 hours of traveling in Canada. Tests are done for those who either have symptoms or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive. You can’t just walk into a test centre and say you want a test as you are travelling, this simply will not happen.
By mandating that tourists self-quarantine for 14 days, this will ensure no visitor will spend 2 weeks in quarantine to get a 1 week holiday.
A rapid PCR test should be administered when visitors exit their plane, if negative, they should be allowed to continue to their hotel to begin their holiday.
Although the CARICOM islands say they want tourists to come, by implementing these measures, they are just paying lip-service to restarting tourism.
Many of the larger hotels on tne islands have no intention to reopen until at least October, as they recognize these measures will prohibit any vacationers from making plans.
When borders were closed to international travel, it was fine for countries such as Canada and the USA to mainly test those who had symptoms or were exposed. However, with borders re-opening other measures have to be implemented. If they want to come to CARICOM nations then Canada, the USA, etc will need to make provisions for travellers to get tested before they come to our Sovereign shores.
I agree whole heartedly with melinda. Thats the only option that make sense.
Stop depending on tourism so much, stop putting all your eggs in one basket.Speed up the implementation of the medical marijuana, I’m very sure that this will help bring Barbados out of the uncertain financial state that it is currently faced with.
@Melinda — “if negative, they should be allowed to continue to their hotel to begin their holiday”. What happens if they test positive? Barbados needs the tourist dollars but at what cost?
Today alone the USA registered over 37,000 new covid-19 cases and this is not because of testing alone, community spread is the reason.
I can see disaster ahead.
Is all things to all men.
I just travelled to uk.
Took a rapid test, negative.
Went on my way.
I went thro border control in a very low time.
Because I had complied with information requests onlineand had negstive rapid.test result proof.
Boarded a crowded underground train, went with the crowd to the exit and was on.an equally populated overground station,boarded a relstively full overground train on which like the inderground train NO ONE was socially distanced.
Went to my house, where I was required.to isolate, and thro post next day received my First of Two self administered test kits.
Swabbed my.nose and throat(same swab)
Sealed in test sample and walked thro public streets to my Post Office where I posted .the sample to the test company.
Only one more test to go on day 8 of my isolation, Unless I wish to pay again on Day 5 and after I test negative, legally be able to leave my residence as and when I wish.!!!
Anybody make any sense of this???