TORONTO — While 2022 will likely shape up to be a strong recovery year, it’s 2023 and 2024 that hold the promise of pre-pandemic visitation levels, say the majority of CTO members.
Caribbean destinations including Montserrat, Anguilla, Jamaica and more took part in Day 2 of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 2022 update, aimed at giving the latest updates on entry requirements, protocols, new developments, forecasts and more.
Almost without fail, when asked when they anticipated visitation returning to 2019 levels, they said 2023 or 2024.
The good news is, many are optimistic that 2022 will be the start of that upswing, after a dismal 2020, and a stronger but turbulent 2021.
CTO members taking part in Day 1 of the online event included Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts and more. Click here for that coverage.
And for a look at Day 2’s updates, read on…
Montserrat has handled the pandemic well, with just two deaths from COVID-19 over the past two years, and very low case counts. The island’s vaccination rate is climbing. For anyone with clients interested in heading to Montserrat, “rest assured those visitors can vacation in a safe and healthy environment,” said Montserrat’s Premier, Joseph E. Farrell. The island reopened to fully vaccinated travellers on Oct. 1, 2021. Two months later it successfully hosted a scaled-down Carnival. “We have reason to look to the future with hope,” he said.
Warren Solomon, Montserrat’s Director of Tourism, says the island has yet to welcome back cruise ships. The island isn’t a stop for the big ships, but it typically hosts smaller ships with fewer than 500 passengers. “We’re not reopening to cruise traffic just yet and at this stage we can’t say when that will end,” said Solomon.
Montserrat is open to fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air, with testing requirements. The island also has a five-day quarantine requirement. “We realize this makes us a less attractive option for short getaways” but it’s less of an issue for longer stay clients, says Solomon. Click here for more details.
Anguilla has stringent health and safety protocols in place, to ensure the safety of residents and visitors, says Minister of Tourism, Haydn Hughes.
However the island is open to fully vaccinated travellers. All visitors 18 years and older must be fully vaccinated; pregnant women and children under the age of 18 are exempt. Visitors must show proof of a negative PCR test taken two to five days prior to arrival, or a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. Visitors will also be tested at point of entry and asked to stay in place at their resort until they get the test result. More details are here.
“Jamaica is well-positioned as a destination for a strong recovery,” says the Jamaica Tourist Board’s Director of Tourism, Donovan White.
Jamaica reopened in June 2020. From January through November 2021, Jamaica welcomed more than 1.3 million visitors. An additional 217,000 visitors arrived on island in December 2021. “That puts us right on track for our 2021 projections.”
White made sure to thank all the travel advisors the JTB works with, and they are legion. “I’d like to give special thanks to our travel agent partners,” he said, adding that the Jamaica Travel Specialist program and One Love Rewards program have gotten a lot of traction throughout the pandemic.
More details about Jamaica’s protocols are here.
“Three islands, one unique destination”: That’s Grenada, says Petra Roach, CEO, Grenada Tourism Authority, highlighting the destination’s black sand beaches, rainforest, wreck dives and more during her presentation.
Grenada saw some 42,000 arrivals in 2021. And in recent weeks “we have seen a definite uptick in terms of the number of arrivals coming in,” she says.
Grenada is now back up to full flight capacity from the U.S. and the UK. From Canada, flights with Air Canada had a triumphant restart at the end of October 2021, however the reinstatement of the travel advisory and heightened concern about the omicron variant saw Air Canada’s Grenada service temporarily suspended, along with flights to a dozen or so other sun destinations.
Roach says promotional efforts for the Grenada brand going forward include pillars like sustainable travel, and travel with a purpose. Top target markets include culinary, soft adventure, diving, MICE and romance and weddings.
At the start of 2022 the GTA launched its new Grenada Travel Expert Program. The program allows agents to become experts in selling the destination and learn about vital information about Grenada’s Pure Safe Travel protocols, new hotels and attractions as well as airlift updates. Cash rewards and prizes are also available.
Details about Grenada’s protocols are here.