The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has asked the Government of Canada to reconsider new pandemic testing rules that will strain already stressed Caribbean public health systems and cause further damage to the region’s economy.
“This policy is creating challenges and places even greater economic hardship on the people and governments of the Caribbean and on the thousands of Canadians currently in the Caribbean who are scheduled to return home in the coming weeks,” said CHTA’s Acting CEO and Director General Vanessa Ledesma.
The new policy has resulted in a rash of cancellations by Canadians who had been scheduled to travel to the region, Ledesma observed. This is further harming already fragile businesses and economies and keeping more employees from returning to work, she said.
Ledesma notes that the Caribbean has a low tourism-related transmission rates in the region.
“On behalf of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the 33 National Hotel and Tourism Associations throughout the region, which are part of our Federation, we respectfully request reconsideration of this policy for the Caribbean,” CHTA stated in a submission to Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau and shared with Canadian High Commissions and Consulates across the region.
CHTA believes the region’s success in maintaining one of the lowest incident rates of COVID-19 in the world is largely because of the stringent health safety and testing measures which are in place, thanks to the Caribbean Heads of Government, and the strong partnerships between the health and tourism sectors.
These protocols are recognized by health safety partners, including CARPHA, CTO, and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).