Caribbean promoted as a place that has lower rates of coronavirus
Jamaica joined some other Caribbean islands in reopening to tourists in June, with the country’s tourism minister saying the Caribbean is doing comparatively well in coping with a virus that has brought much of international tourism to a virtual standstill.
Edmund Bartlett told a June 23 Baxter Media Travel Webcast that the Caribbean is an “example of good management” of coronavirus, with the region seeing a comparatively low number of corona-virus-linked deaths and some destinations seeing a complete recovery by all who were sickened by it.
“We have what I call a fairly COVID-19-resilient corridor in the Caribbean,” he told the webcast.
Bartlett’s Jamaica reopened to tourists in mid-June, with 6,000 people arriving in the first week. Half were expatriate Jamaicans returning home and the others were tourists. Tourists can stay in hotels in a corridor stretching from Negril to Port Antonio, which Bartlett labelled a “secure area.” He said those now arriving will find what he described as stringent cleaning and sanitary measures in place and required social distancing.
Bartlett said medical staff will quickly be available for any tourists who test positive for coronavirus after arriving in Jamaica and hotels are setting aside rooms for such visitors that will isolate them from other guests.
Bartlett said there’s a “new demographic emerging” in travel that has tourists seeking “the highest level of travel with the minimum level of risk (to their health).”
The state of global tourism
Michael Lim, who heads the Hong Kong Tourism Board in this country, told the session his destination has decided on a three-pronged program to rebuild tourism — resilience, recovery and relaunch. The program sees Hong Kong’s tourist trade first reaching out to locals and later international travellers.
Lim said there will be heightened interest in outdoors and wellness activities.
He stated Hong Kong’s international airport has implemented leading-edge cleaning measures.
Lim said those in the industry must be prepared for the startup of travel. He was confident about travel’s long-term prospects, saying life is “boring” without it.
Dana Welch of Tourism Ireland’s Canadian office, noted her destination decided to allow attractions, hotels and restaurants to reopen June 29, part of a gradual easing of restrictions being seen throughout much of Europe.
Susan Webb of Discover America’s Canadian chapter said some U.S. states are doing better than others in containing coronavirus. One region having success is New England, she said.
Webb identified Hawaii as a state that’s brought in particularly tough measures to deal with the pandemic.
Webb said travel agents must be able to convince their clients that a destination is safe in order to get bookings and can’t rely on “pretty pictures” to generate business.
Gal Hana, Canadian director for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, said it’s hugely important that tourists will feel they’re going to a safe destination when travel resumes.
Israel imposed tough measures when coronavirus first surfaced and has since gained praise for the way it’s dealt with the pandemic, he said.
The onset of coronavirus came at a time when Israel’s tourism was on a roll, with the country enjoying a strong 2019 and this year saw it have its best January ever tourism-wise.