Governor Albert Bryan Jr. (right) addresses Caribbean tourism challenges with Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson (center), and Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
USVI GOVERNOR HOPEFUL ABOUT CARIBBEAN TOURISM’S RECOVERY U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (Sept. 17, 2020) – Caribbean tourism is poised for a strong post-pandemic recovery, predicts U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor Albert Bryan Jr., just ahead of the reopening of the Territory to leisure visitors this weekend.
“I expect the Caribbean to do even better as we open up the doors, find a new vaccine, and people start traveling again,” Governor Bryan said during last week’s three-day CHRIS+HOLA Connect virtual hotel investment conference, which combined the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) and Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA).
The “Views from Heads of Government” session, which also featured Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, and was moderated by Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, addressed how the two island communities are coping with the global travel and tourism downturn caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
On June 1, the USVI became one of the first Caribbean destinations to reopen to leisure visitors, though it had to put that reopening on pause on August 19 after recording a spike in COVID-19 cases. Leisure travel to the Territory will resume again on September 19, with all travelers five years and older being required to present a COVID-19 test result.
Such strict containment measures have helped the USVI mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Governor Bryan noted the Territory was one of the first places in the United States to proclaim “no mask, no service.”
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Governor Bryan is hopeful for tourism’s eventual rebound, pointing out that the USVI is still “seeing tremendous tourism numbers.”
He noted how quickly airlift picked up again when the Territory reopened, and pointed out significant increase in activity in the charter yacht industry. And while September is typically a slow month for the hospitality industry, this year there’s been an uptick in people planning trips.
“I see light at the end of the tunnel on this,” he said, explaining that key to the Territory’s management of the pandemic has been the symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors.
While cases within the Territory have remained relatively low overall, vigilance is still crucial due to limited resources to handle a major outbreak in the community. READ MORE…