Published on : Thursday, May 6, 2021
Jamaica has reopened its borders to travellers from the UK on May 1, 2021. The decision arrived after flights to the Caribbean island were banned for several months in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in Europe. The initial ban was imposed under the Disaster Risk Management Act in Jamaica during December. Several other countries also imposed similar travel bans.
The ban brought travel between Jamaica and the UK to a halt and was done as part of the island’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe an increase in confidence related to travel and tourism can be witnessed. Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett informed that the ban for UK tourists was lifted as nearly 70 per cent of UK residents have received their first dose of vaccinations.
He also mentioned that the lifting of restrictions will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel. He mentioned that at this time Jamaica’s position is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island.
He added that opening of the borders is important in the context of not just Jamaica’s tourism but Caribbean tourism, as so many of these countries benefit from transiting through Jamaica for British and European nationals. He mentioned that it is also important also against the background of the recent call by the Caribbean Tourism Organization urging a review of the categorization of Caribbean countries by the UK; given the fact that the Caribbean has the lowest death rates and highest recovery rates and exemplary COVID-19 management.