Published on : Wednesday, June 16, 2021
The meetings narrated the terrifying tale of Covid-19 and its effect on the Caribbean in last year and at present the accomplishment of vaccines and the encouraging pace of bookings in 2021.
This revival is measured in small and big steps. In the last two weeks, significant measures by several destinations narrate the same story.
At 50% capacity, Puerto Rico reopened the doors of its bars and placed no restrictions at outdoor “chinchorros” where locals assemble; Curacao has also raised its night curfew, which was prevalent for more than a year; in St. Lucia, now vaccinated travelers have the permission to book rental cars, explore local shops and eat dinner at different restaurants. The borders in St. Barts have reopened to all those travelers who are vaccinated completely.
As restrictions are raised, demand increases, airlines add flights, hotels and restaurants reopen, vendors set out their wares in craft markets, island tours fill up.
Zooms aren’t all talk; graphs and charts tell stories, as well. This month, during a Zoom webinar by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association titled “Tourism Recovery Measures and Activities,” one chart caught my eye. It showed answers from this question put to CHTA members: When do you hope your business to recuperate financially from the impact of the pandemic?
Fourteen percent said that they expect it by this December; 27% said by December 2022 and 19% said by December 2023, which led Frank Comito, CHTA advisor and former director general of the association, to put it bluntly. “We need to shorten the recovery period.”