A leading online travel publication is suggesting that while travel to the Caribbean has been impacted by the health travel advisories issued by United States authorities, many Americans were still willing to come to the region. Travel Pulse, one of the North America’s leading online travel publications said as the winter months approach, Americans were making travel plans for the traditionally popular vacation spots including many Caribbean islands like Barbados.
Heavily tourism dependent, Barbados has suffered significant economic fallout because of a massive downturn in tourism arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the publication pointed out that demand for travel in the peak winter season was increasing again from pandemic-weary Americans, who also want to escape the cold of the coming winter.
“While everyone in the US is able to get vaccinated when they choose, this region is struggling with insufficient access to vaccines,” it observed. It added: “Due to ‘very high’ COVID-19 case rates, the US Centres for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) has slapped a ‘Level 4: COVID-19 Very High’ advisory on the majority of Caribbean tourism destinations, which carries a recommendation that the public avoid travelling there altogether.”
There are more than 20 countries in the region that have been hit with the strongest category 4 travel warning by the CDC. They include Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands.
Those countries in Category 3, where the CDCC recommends that only fully vaccinated Americans visit include Anguilla, Bonaire, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, while the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands are in the lower Category 2 group of countries.
Following the announcement by the CDC that Barbados was placed on the list of high-risk countries to which Americans should not travel, Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins called the move “counter-productive”. She suggested that the advisory did not call for a further tightening of protocols and were not likely to impact Barbados’ arrival numbers or interest in the island as a destination.
Cummins added: “In this instance we have an advisory, but it does not come with additional quarantine measures that would then affect travellers when they come. People still have opportunity to come to Barbados and keep themselves safe and go back after having enjoyed their time here in Barbados.” Following the announcement by the CDC, the United States Embassy in Barbados suspended the processing of non-immigrant visa services for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean until further notice. (IMC1)