Basseterre: Tourism, once a flourishing sector and major pillar of the economy for almost all small island countries of the Caribbean, was impacted by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, is now beginning to bounce back to normalcy with continual efforts of the governments to boost international travel from all across the world.
The measures placed by St Kitts and Nevis is evident that there is a light in the dark. Twin-island nation began reopening to vaccinated international travellers from around the world with the implementation of progressive initiatives. The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis tops the charts in terms of the vaccination ratio of population in the whole region as it has already vaccinated over 80% of the population, which dramatically reduces the risk of illness and would not overwhelm the health infrastructure of the country.
An article published in a local newspaper Writeups 24 outlines the efforts of Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris for paving a path towards normalcy with unimaginable developments in the tourism sector. St Kitts and Nevis is not only welcoming 4 cruise ships at its famous Port Zante, but it has also opened doors for air travellers.
As the world is addressing several new emerging variants of COVID-19, St Kitts and Nevis’ successful management will act as a guide for all other tourism-dependent nations facing similar dilemmas as the administrations are preparing for international tourism.
Prime Minister Harris led the Team Unity administration announced a stimulus package during the last year to combat the COVID-19 pandemic with a massive $120 million package to provide support to all persons impacted by the restrictions of COVID-19.
It was unfortunate that the pandemic and its related lockdowns have hit tourism hard as St Kitts and Nevis, like all other countries around the world, had to implement stringent restrictions on public movement and international arrivals. Passengers visiting St Kitts and Nevis was reduced to almost zero, and now the Federation is welcoming and attracting most tourists as compared to the whole region.
After the Government announced a travel bubble a few months ago, the recovery appears to be on the horizon for St Kitts and Nevis and according to some professionals, this recovery scenario would likely reshape the landscape of the global tourism industry and government efforts created a strong imperative for both private and public sectors to act to ensure the regrowth of the sector.
In this regard, St Kitts and Nevis had introduced the travel bubble approach – where all tourism-related workers, service providers including taxi drivers, local vendors, tourism guides and all other person who would face to face deal with the travellers would be fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, St Kitts and Nevis would only accept arrivals, who are fully vaccinated against the global pandemic including airline and cruise ship staff. And no person of St Kitts and Nevis – who is unvaccinated will be allowed to interact with the travellers.
According to Writeups 24, locals has welcomed the right-minded approach of Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris and his administration. It quoted a local vendor, Pamela Lewis, who expressed warm admiration of the Government’s job in bringing back St Kitts and Nevis back to the path of normalcy as the Federation would welcome over 51 cruise ships at Port Zante providing a significant boost to all individuals connected with the sector at large. Local shopkeepers have also commended the efforts of PM Harris, stating that they were initially scared that it would take years to get back to the numbers pre-covid to post-covid, but the efficient work is evident in giving a mileage to local businesses.
Citizens and residents of the Federation are voicing their satisfaction with the response to a COVID-19 pandemic as St Kitts and Nevis is not only paving the path for tourism, but it is also making efforts to strengthen the health sector. The country is giving comprehensive training to all hospitality workers and medical staff to secure maximum safety of the people and economy.