The question of how and whether to reopen for tourism remains an existential question for Caribbean destinations — and it’s not an easy one to answer.
But those who do can look to Saint Lucia as an exemplar for tourism reopenings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost three months after reopening its borders for international tourism, Saint Lucia continues to be a model in the fight against COVID-19.
The country is one of just eight countries globally to receive a Level 1 COVID-19 rating from the CDC, meaning over the last 28 days new cases either decreased or stabilized.
So far, Saint Lucia has reported just 26 cases and no deaths — or about 1.42 cases per 10,000 population.
Saint Lucia received its first commercial flight on July 9, with a host of strict protocols for incoming visitors, including a requirement to effectively quarantine in their hotels, and a stay in a maximum of two different hotels.
That’s along with the requirement of a negative COVID-19 test up to seven days before the date of travel; airport screening; a pre-arrival form.
“This is even more validation of our country’s success in the management of COVID-19,” said Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet. “We have to keep following our protocols and ensuring that pre-testing is done before visitors arrive in Saint Lucia. This takes the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the travel industry.”
So far, Saint Lucia has received just under 5,900 travelers through its approved ports of entry, of whom 4,413 were visitors.
“It is an honor to see that the Strategic approach to responsible reopening the tourism sector, dedication and sacrifice of the Government, frontline workers and the cooperation of the public is topical in international jurisdictions. All measures by the government are geared are ensuring that livelihoods are restored while keeping local communities protected from the virus,” said Saint Lucia Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee.
The island has also begun to open up more sectors of its tourism industry, including diving and snorkeling.
And the island’s diverse hotel product, consisting mostly of low-density, smaller-scale luxury and boutique hotels, is another asset in the age of social distancing.
Saint Lucia now has 17 hotels currently COVID-19 certified and open for travelers, most recently the Fond Doux Plantation in Soufriere.
Saint Lucia remains in “Phase 1” of its reopening plan.
For more, visit Saint Lucia.