Saturday 31 October, 2020

Caribbean gets ready to welcome tourists as borders reopen

Over the next few weeks, some Caribbean countries will reopen their borders and welcome tourists back.

The reopening of the tourism sector, one which most countries in the region depend on, will be carefully managed to avoid a re-emergence of COVID-19 which has been contained, for the most part, in the Caribbean and to build visitor trust by ensuring their safety.

From proof of a negative COVID-19 status to the opening of a limited number of rooms, countries are implementing various measures to capitalise on summer travel within the region and internationally.

Here are some of the countries that are reopening and the measures they are taking to welcome visitors back.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas unveiled its Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan on June 2.

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar announced the sector will open on July 1 to international travelers. He said there will be a phased approach to the reopening from July 15 with boaters and yachters and private aviation invited to return to the islands. 

Hotels will reopen at that time to put in place measures for the full opening on July 1.

Joy Jibrilu, Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, said the tourism will reopen with a focus on the secluded family islands, a focus on weddings, honeymoons and nature. There will also be a domestic tourism campaign to promote travel within The Bahamas.


Grenada and Carriacou have been open to registered yachts from May 20 and in Carriacou from Monday, May 25.

As required, the entering yachts were all pre-registered into the GRENADA LIMA database before being given pre-clearance.

On arrival at the designated dock at Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina, Ministry of Health officials conduct screenings, including temperature testing for yachts passengers who then proceed on the requisite 14-day quarantine at approved locations.

At the end of the quarantine period, the crew will be given formal clearance by Immigration and Customs, only after receiving a negative COVID-19 test result and health clearance from the Ministry of Health.

While the daily curfew from 7 pm to 5 am is still in effect, every day is designated a business day from 8 am to 5 pm. Beaches are open to the public from 5 am -11 am.

US Virgin Islands

The USVI officially opened its door on June 1 with the prohibition on hotels and booking of leisure guests lifted.

Governor Albert Bryan Jr said on Monday that there are now guidelines for restaurants, bars, hotels and safaris to conduct their business.

Thermal scanners and other initiatives to measure the status of travelers coming into the country will be implemented.

Antigua and Barbuda

The twin-island opened its borders on June 1 and the door for international travelers will open on June 4 with one daily American Airline flight from Miami. There will also be an emphasis on regional travelers as well and they are in talks with Caribbean Airlines and Liat.

Colin James, CEO of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, told Loop in the initial phase four hotels will be opened to accommodate visitors: Sandals Resort, Tamarind Hill, Hammock Cove Resort, Galley Bay.

All passengers will be required to fill out a health declaration, wear a mask upon arrival and there will be health workers stationed at the airport to take swabs and conduct rapid testing. All luggage will be sanitised.

Antigua and Barbuda is still under curfew which begins at 9 pm.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia will reopen its borders on June 4 with international flights at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) from the United States only. 

Visitors will be required to present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight and upon arrival in Saint Lucia, all travelers must continue the use of face masks and physical distancing.

There will be screening and temperature checks by port health authorities.

Phase one will see some 1,500 hotel rooms in Saint Lucia being prepared to open in early June, pending completion of a new COVID-19 certification process in time to welcome the first visitors.

Turks and Caicos

Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, announced plans to reopen borders and begin welcoming visitors starting on July 22.

Airline partners have confirmed flight service will resume from within the United States, Canada, and Europe as soon as the destination is ready.

Private jet terminals will open on July 22 as well in conjunction with the reopening of Providenciales International Airport. 

The Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until August 31 subject to guidance from relevant health authorities.

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