The Barbados Hotel Tourism Association (BHTA) is expecting a fair larger increase in visitor arrivals with the removal of the outdoor mask mandate and the COVID-19 test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers that take effect Wednesday.
In an official statement released on Tuesday, the BHTA said given the convenience in most COVID-19 protocols in overseas territories that, like Barbados, have seen a downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, an additional rest of the measures here was the correct move.
“The fact of the direction of COVID management in each our source markets and competitive set, is that almost all have moved to lifting of entry testing and outdoor mask requirements. Indeed, in lots of source markets mask wearing is a matter of private selection.
“This implies as we move forward, when a traveller is making a call on travel, they’ll select Barbados with increased confidence. There’ll now not be testing requirements which add costs to the trip. This alteration will reduce risk of cancellation and disruption to travel plans and facilitate a return to a more seamless travel experience,” the BHTA stated.
It added that it fully expects a major increase in projected visitor arrivals for the subsequent few months, in consequence of the relief of protocols.
“The proposed changes to the Barbados Travel Protocols are expected to lead to increased bookings for Barbados, and an improvement within the booking pace.
“Presently, we’re projecting occupancies of 48 per cent, 41 per cent and 42 per cent, for the months of May, June and July, 2022, respectively. While we informed previously that we expect those average occupancies to enhance, it’s now our further hope that the advance will probably be more significant with the announced adjustments to the travel protocols.”
In keeping with the BHTA, which represents 300 tourism and non-tourism entities, the science surrounding the present state of the pandemic has given stakeholders the boldness to support easing of restrictions at the moment.
“The science across the spread of COVID points to little or no evidence of risk of spreading in outdoor and well-ventilated spaces, in order that the removal of mask mandates for outdoors also augurs well for the delivery of an improved visitor experience. At this point, people don’t want to be policed and penalised for simply making the selection to walk down the road with out a mask,” it said.
The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), meantime, has disapproved of the changes, warning that failure to check fully vaccinated visitors meant that new strains of the virus wouldn’t be detected.
The doctors have also really useful that the mask mandate remain unchanged. (SB/PR)