Destination expands vacation bubble concept
Having been officially pronounced COVID-19 free by the Word Health Organization, Anguilla is taking a cautious approach to welcoming back international travellers with a three-testing protocol in place.
Now in phase 2, the Caribbean destination has implemented a vacation bubble concept designed to allow properties to safely offer their short stay guests access to a variety of approved amenities, services and activities while they stay in place, while limiting their interaction with Anguilla’s population.
During a destination update about its reopening to international travellers, Hugh Riley, a partner with The Portfolio Marketing Group, said research has shown travellers are looking for open spaces, uncrowded beaches and an increased emphasis on health and safety protocols for their next holidays, and Anguilla fits the bill.
“A lot of the services you normally had are still there — for example if you want to play golf, go deep sea fishing, scuba diving — there are a lot of things you can do once you come to Anguilla,” said Hon. Minister of Tourism Haydn Hughes. “For the most part you have real unfeathered access to tourism and non tourism on the island.”
In order to meet pre-entry approval requirements, travellers are required to have proof of a negative PCR test taken within three to five days of arrival; medical insurance that covers the cost of COVID-19 related treatment for 30 days; and payment of fees which vary depending on the proposed length of stay.
Upon arrival, travellers will be tested again, and once the test is negative, they will be able to enjoy the amenities available in their bubble. A second test will be administered on day 10 of their visit, for visitors originating from low-risk countries (i.e. where the virus prevalence is less than 0.2% such as Canada), and on day 14 for guests arriving from higher-risk countries (such as the US).
Under the bubble concept, visitors can still dine out at certified restaurants; play a round of golf; go scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking or embark on a glass-bottomed boat rides; hit the beach; and partake in offshore cay excursions to Sandy Island, Scilly Cay and Prickly Pear, including private lunches.
Advance reservations are required for all activities, with transportation provided by a certified ground operator.
Once a negative result is returned after the second test in destination, guests are then free to explore the island.
Hughes says the destination has seen “a dramatic increase in the number of people who want to stay three months and above.”
Beyond the airport and ground transfers, he says visitors are not required to wear masks.
Although he says the world will never be the same coming out of COVID-19, he’s optimistic that by 2023 the destination will see arrival numbers that rival 2019.
“Tourism is resilient. Tourism will be back better than before… and Anguilla will be ready for that.”
Kenroy Herbert, Chairman of the Anguilla Tourist Board, said one of the many highlights of visiting the destination is experiencing Little Bay Beach, where LeBron James famously shared a video of himself cliff diving while staying at the Beach House Anguilla.
“It’s accessible only by boat and by rope — climbing down a cliff,” he says.
Meanwhile he says the ultra-luxe property is known for having a lot of celebrities as an “eight- bedroom party house so to speak.”
Here’s a look at what’s open and what’s opening soon:
Belmond Cap Juluca, Frangipani Beach Resort and Tranquility Beach Anguilla opened on Nov. 1; and The CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa opened on Nov. 14.
The Four Seasons Resort & Residences and the Quintessence Hotel will reopen on Nov. 19; Zemi Beach House, LXR Hotels & Resorts on Dec. 14; The Reef by CuisinArt on Dec. 15 and Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection on Dec. 17.
The following fees apply to visitors, payable on receipt of pre-entry approval:
5 DAYS OR LESS
Individual Traveller: US$300
Each additional family/group member: US$250
6 DAYS TO 3 MONTHS (90 DAYS)
Individual Traveller: US$400
Each additional family/group member: US$250
The fee covers two (2) tests per person and costs associated with the additional public health surveillance and monitoring.
3 MONTHS TO 12 MONTHS
Individual Traveller: US$ 2,000
Family (4 persons): US$ 3,000
Each additional family/group member: US$ 250
The fee covers two (2) tests per person, costs associated with the additional public health surveillance and monitoring, the cost of extended immigration time/entry and a digital work permit.
For more, visit www.IvisitAnguilla.com.