Due to COVID-19’s impact on the tourism industry and the uncertainty it faces with regards to international travel, Caribbean tourism ministers have been discussing the future of tourism.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, disclosed during a press conference at Ilaro Court this afternoon that in recent discussions and fora with her regional counterparts they had spoken about issues such as inter-regional travel, domestic tourism and the upcoming hurricane season.
“There are a number of carriers that have emerged in the last year or so, and coming up this week, we actually have a planned meeting with all of the regional carriers for the purpose of looking at inter-regional travel. That obviously is significantly impacted as a result of these airspace closures, and what that means as a result for all of the travel within the region,” Minister Cummins stated, in reference to discussions on inter-regional travel.
She also shared that regional tourism ministers would be looking to discuss the cruise industry. “One of the other things that we are also going to be doing during the course of this week is meeting on cruise and how we can as regional economies coordinate on the itineraries that are on the cruise lines, so that we have identical protocols, or at least uniformity in the protocols and that there is a gold standard.”
Senator Cummins also highlighted another matter that she and her regional counterparts are focusing on. “We’ve started conversations, many of us already, about raising awareness about tourism dependent economies and the impacts of COVID-19. We were preparing for a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism dependent economies and what that means as we head into the hurricane season.”
She noted that those discussions would now have to include the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and what it means for regional travel.
Minister Cummins stressed that the uncertainty about the tourism industry is not “a uniquely Barbadian phenomenon”, and said “it is very much one of those moments where it’s global, and it’s been globalised by COVID-19…. We just have to make sure that we continue doing the best that we can, to be the best that we can be, circumstances notwithstanding”.