The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association says it is urging the government of Canada to reconsider its new testing rules for return travel to the country.
The rule, which took effect Jan. 7, requires all residents and travelers entering Canada from the Caribbean to provide proof of a negative PCR test before their planned departure to Canada.
The move “will strain already stressed Caribbean public health systems and cause further damage to the region’s economy,” the CHTA said in a statement.
“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 organization said that the “mere announcement” of the policy had resulted in a “rash of cancellations” by Canadians who had been scheduled to travel to the region.
“As the policy takes effect, we anticipate many stranded Canadians being unable to return home due to their inability to get tests in the required time,” Ledesma said.
The organization said it naturally recognized that the policy was intended to mitigate the spread of the virus in Canada.
“Our commitment to the health and safety of residents and travelers is best demonstrated by the COVID-19 protocols and containment measures which are in place throughout the Caribbean, and the thousands of tourism employees who have undergone health safety training conducted by CHTA and its health safety partners, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organization,” she said.
“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 said in an official submission to Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau and shared with Canadian High Commissions and Consulates across the region.