World Travel Market 2020: Destination news highlights from last week’s

Blue Hole Waterfall, Jamaica

Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Jamaican minister calls on UK agents to promote country

Katie McGonagle

The Jamaica Tourist Board branded the England lockdown as “devastating” for travel to the Caribbean and called on UK agents to continue promoting the country. Edmund Bartlett, tourism

minister for Jamaica, claimed there had been no known cases of Covid-19 transmission within the island’s ‘resilient corridor’, an area between Negril and Port Antonio that takes in many popular tourist sites, since borders reopened on June 15. “The impact of the lockdown on us has been devastating,” he said.

211,000 Visitor numbers since borders reopened

“It’s not just Jamaica – all of us

in the Caribbean rely very heavily on British visitors. “Jamaica’s position may be a

little less painful than the rest of the region because we rely more heavily on the North American market. But closing [England] for a month has seen cancellations of a number of flights. Some flights will not resume until the middle of December and that’s painful.” Asked what agents can do,

Bartlett added: “You can continue to show Jamaica to be a pristine destination, a go-to place that must form part of your immediate priority once the UK has changed its stance.” Addressing Jamaica trade show

Japex, attended virtually by nearly 2,000 agents and 250 operators from key source markets, Bartlett said 211,000 visitors had arrived since borders reopened, bringing in $231.9 million between June and September. Hotel occupancy rates were “slowly inching up”, with winter arrivals expected to show a 40% increase compared with summer. Visitors from high-risk countries

(excluding the UK) must provide proof of a negative test within the 10 days prior to their arrival, but this has now been expanded to cover both antigen and PCR tests and will no longer need to be uploaded in advance. From December, the tourist

board will cover the costs of emergency medical care, quarantine and repatriation for visitors under its new Jamaica Cares initiative.

Grenada hopeful of winter upturn after end of lockdown

Grenada is optimistic that the UK market will return this winter – despite England’s lockdown coinciding with the resumption of direct flights. Virgin Atlantic relaunched its twice-weekly service on

18 19 NOVEMBER 2020

October 26 and BA followed suit on October 28 – eight days before the lockdown came into force. Patricia Maher, chief executive

of the Grenada Tourism Authority, said: “We know the flights will resume again, hopefully in the

first week of December.” Visitors to Grenada currently

need to show a negative PCR test on arrival and take a second test four days later, if they wish to travel outside of their hotel.

Costa Rica tourists no longer require Covid tests on arrival

Costa Rica’s tourism minister said the country didn’t need Covid testing in place for visitors as its protocols, and those of airlines, were good enough. The country stopped asking for

negative PCR tests on arrival from November 1, having reopened to international visitors in August. Since then, it has had 10,000

international visitors and no reported Covid cases. Tourists must have insurance that covers hospital fees and an extended stay if they contract Covid-19, and must fill in digital tracing forms. Tourism minister Gustavo

Segura Sancho said: “The testing situation around the world was proving to be a barrier.” Noting Pan American Health

Organization guidance showed PCR testing is “not a 100% guarantee”, he added: “We trust ours and the airlines’ protocols. We can’t guarantee no one will get the virus, but no country can.”

St George’s, Grenada

PICTURES: Shutterstock

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