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The Caribbean islands have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions.
Tourism employs an estimated 2.5 million people and generates almost one-third of the region’s economic output, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Advisors can help restore the Caribbean to its former glory by promoting the following efforts launched by tourism boards and resorts across the islands.
Tourism BoardsMany of the islands are keeping in touch with consumers by way of virtual travel and interactive content on social media. Tourism boards are also sharing new health and sanitation measures designed to keep citizens and tourists safe.
The Jamaica Tourist Board launched an “Escape to Jamaica” series that first aired on its Instagram Live feed in the beginning of April. The series kicked off with one of Jamaica’s most famous DJs, ZJ Sparks, and has also featured Jamaican chef Andre Fowles, who some may recognized from Food Network’s television show “Chopped.”
Edmund Bartlett, the country's minister of tourism, has also outlined several new initiatives to make travel to the country safer in the future at an April meeting of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s UK Chapter. The new guidelines include sanitation and hygiene requirements, and protocols for behavior at swimming pools, beaches and restaurants.
The U.S. Virgin Islands — led by its commissioner of tourism, Joseph Boschulte — has begun several initiatives including a “Virtual Carnival,” which took place over several days at the end of April. The goal of the carnival was to educate travelers about the destination and the importance of observing public health guidelines during and after the pandemic.
The St. Lucia Tourism Authority is offering 360-degree virtual tours around the island on its website. Clients can explore everywhere from Diamond Botanical Gardens to Castries Central Market, an open-air market selling fresh fruit, produce, spices, flowers and more.
The Nevis Tourism Authority has started its #TasteofNevis series, which showcases Nevis-inspired recipes. The tourism board is encouraging participants to share photos and videos while tagging #TasteofNevis.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nevis Island (@nevisnaturally) on Apr 15, 2020 at 1:16pm PDT
A post shared by Nevis Island (@nevisnaturally) on Apr 15, 2020 at 1:16pm PDT
Over the last few weeks, the Aruba Tourism Board has launched special content on its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Social media posts include soothing island sounds and inspiring images from around the island, in addition to favorite recipes such as pancakes.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aruba (@arubatourism) on Apr 10, 2020 at 7:50am PDT
A post shared by Aruba (@arubatourism) on Apr 10, 2020 at 7:50am PDT
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) has been hosting a series of live interactive chats titled “CHTA Live: The Resilience Series.” The series is hosted by a panel of industry professionals, who have answered questions related to air travel, insurance claims and more. Panelists have represented companies such as JetBlue Airways, the International Air Transport Association, as well as the various tourism associations across the islands. These chats are ongoing and can be accessed on the CHTA website.
ResortsMeanwhile, Sandals Resorts’ social media campaign #SandalsStateOfMind aims to bring the Caribbean home with a series of Caribbean and cocktail recipes, 360- degree virtual resort tours and more.
The Sandals team has also been engaging with Sandals Select loyalty members in a closed Facebook group with more than 10,000 members. They’ve had dance breaks, shared fan-favorite cocktail recipes and hosted happy hours with Sandals’ own DJ Bryan.
In addition, Sandals also has put heightened cleanliness protocols in place throughout high-traffic areas of their resorts, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, guestrooms and more. These measures include additional hand sanitizing stations for guests and team members throughout the resort, as well as the use of hospital-grade disinfectants and UV-LED lighting equipment to inspect the cleanliness of each guestroom.
Read more from TravelAge West about the COVID-19 outbreak.