It’s Caribbean Tourism Month

By | Category: Travel destinations

November is traditionally the month that Caribbean nations and islands celebrate tourism. That’s because it is also the beginning of their main holiday season. The hurricane season should be over and tourists from North American begin to leave the colder temperatures and head south.

an island in the Bahamas – a world away from the imposed restrictions we have. But the destination has set rules

Europeans also head over to avoid the cold but in nowhere near the numbers that come from neighbours to the north.

But this season could be very different from others in the past although that hasn’t stopped the Caribbean from launching the season with this year’s theme – The Caribbean Awaits.

Due to the pandemic there has been a 57% decline in arrivals during the first six months but with lower infection rates in the region and many of the destinations open or preparing to open, the Caribbean is hoping for visitor numbers to help stem the economic impact caused by the virus.

Don’t think that staying in the Caribbean will be just like pre-COVID days. The islands want to protect their inhabitants and you from the pandemic and are going to lengths to ensure the Caribbean stays as safe as possible.

When the travel bans are lifted by the UK’s four governments what might visitors expect?

Here are three examples from the Bahamas, St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia.

In the Bahamas, you will need to have had a PCR test no earlier than five days before you arrive as well as applying for a health travel visa. On the fifth day after you have arrived you must take an antigen test and you must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

As from the 14th of November, you must opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance – like Jamaica has introduced – (it will cost $40-$60 depending on your length of stay but is free for under 10’s) at the same time as you apply for your health travel visa.

Like the Bahamas, you will also need to have taken a PCR test before you arrive on St Kitts and Nevis, but in the case of these islands you need to have taken the test no earlier than 72 hours before you arrive. You will also have to have completed a travel registration form. Prior to submitting your form you must have booked accommodation on the islands.

On arrival you will have temperature testing at the airport and you must download a mobile app. For the first seven days of your holiday you can move freely around your hotel but not leave it. On the seventh day it will cost you $100 for a PCR test which, if negative, allows you from the 8th day to visit selected sites on the islands. On the 14th day spend another $100 on another PCR test and you can – if the test is negative – move freely around the islands.

St Kitts’ Scenic Sugar Railway

International travellers can only stay at pre-approved private rental homes or condos or one of seven hotels;

  1. Four Seasons
  2. Koi Resort, by Curio, Hilton
  3. Marriott Vacation Beach Club
  4. Paradise Beach Nevis
  5. Park Hyatt
  6. Royal St. Kitts Hotel
  7. St. Kitts Marriott Resort

TUI began winter flights to St Lucia a week or so ago carrying a full load of passengers from the UK on the first flight.

Requirements for travelling to St Lucia are similar to those applying to St Kitts and Nevis. You need to have taken a negative PCR test up to seven days before arrival, complete a travel registration (no later than seven days before arrival) and a health screening form.

You must have a verified booking at one of the approved COVID-19 properties and on arrival you will be transferred there in special taxis. At the airport there will be screening and temperature tests.

You have to stay at your hotel or another COVID-19 category hotel) for your entire stay and you can only go on “certified activities, tours and excursions.”

Do not settle for anything other than a PCR test as, at the time of writing, this is the preferred testing required by most Caribbean destinations. Antigen testing which is much quicker is unacceptable and you may be turned back at the airport if you don’t have a PCR test.

St Lucia.

As with any other destination in the world at the moment, regulations may change at short notice so thoroughly check with your proposed travel agent, airline or accommodation before you commit to your trip and be sure you can  have the option of altering the dates if circumstances change.

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