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Friday, June 25, 2021

How Saint Lucia Tailored to CDC’s COVID-19 Protocol Adjustments

Saint Lucia was among the many first Caribbean nations to re-open to guests following the March 2020 COVID-19 outbreak and it seems the vacation spot shall be equally ready to surmount CDC’s latest change in traveler protocols.

That’s as a result of the vacation spot has maintained inflexible journey protocols together with required pre-arrival COVID-19 testing, each day screening and monitoring of workers and guests, applied sanitization protocols at intermittent factors throughout vacationers’ stays and licensed up to date social-distancing methods.

Duty for the nation’s total method rests with its prime minister, Allen Chastanet, a Saint Lucia native who can be a former tourism minister of the Caribbean nation. Chastanet’s journey background additionally features a time period as vice chairman of promoting and gross sales for Air Jamaica. As well as, he’s at the moment managing director of Saint Lucia’s Coco Palm Lodge.

We spoke with the nation’s chief to realize his perspective on Saint Lucia’s skill to adapt to the most recent CDC adjustments and learn the way its tourism phase has fared for the reason that outbreak.

“I feel Saint Lucia had the best perspective from the get-go.” – Allen Chastanet. (Picture courtesy of Saint Lucia Tourism Authority)

TP: Please describe the affect of the most recent CDC adjustments on Saint Lucia’s tourism protocols and procedures, if any.

AC: “It hasn’t impacted us actually. We’re ready and have been ready for a really very long time to implement PCR testing for individuals to journey again to Canada, the U.Okay. and the U.S.”

TP: How have been you in a position to put together for this requirement so shortly?

AC: “We began to design protocols for Saint Lucia in April [and] opened up in June. Saint Lucia from that time had already been calling for PCR testing earlier than you get on a aircraft. There was no situation that we ran that permitting an individual within the nation and not using a PCR check made any sense. Testing folks on arrival from a contact tracing standpoint, creates all types of issues.

“We felt that the journey business would possibly recuperate a lot faster if folks’s confidence in journey was addressed, so from very early we have been calling for PCR testing. I feel Saint Lucia had the best perspective from the get-go. There’s a time period we use known as “co-existing with COVID,” as a result of COVID is like Mom Nature. You may’t beat Mom Nature, it’s important to study to work with Mom Nature.”

TP: Does Saint Lucia take pleasure in any benefits on this state of affairs?

AC: “The distinction with we’ve got carried out versus what’s happening within the larger nations, which may be very tough factor for them to duplicate, is that you would be able to come into our tourism bubble. You may keep at a lodge, have entry inside the lodge and we’ve got particular excursions that we’ve got licensed. Or, you possibly can are available and go into quarantine for 14 days.”

TP: Your nation’s COVID-19 protocols look like complete and stringent, and total an infection charges stay low. How was this achieved and the way did it issue within the authorities’s choice to reopen the vacation spot to guests sooner than different Caribbean nations?

AC: “We principally mentioned look, what are our clear targets right here? Our targets are to save lots of lives and to save lots of livelihoods. Your governor in California I feel actually put it very properly: this isn’t an on-off swap, it is a dimmer swap. It’ll be always going up and down. When there are occasions when it’s required to strengthen your protocols, as a result of there’s a possible group unfold, you try this. What we’ve carried out is all the time alter our protocols primarily based on what the proof is telling us.”

Ladera resort near Saint Lucia’s Piton mountains
Saint Lucia’s affords quite a lot of distinctive resorts. On the Ladera resort close to Saint Lucia’s Piton mountains. (Picture by Brian Main)

TP: How has tourism fared since reopening in June?

AC: Within the month of December we had virtually a forty five p.c restoration of our tourism sector. Now we have taken the recommendation of the World Financial institution and the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF); we’ve got instituted and applied loads of capital initiatives investments initiatives. We’re fixing up roads, our airport [redevelopment] has began, we’re fixing up heath care and group facilities, actually getting ready for when the world re-opens once more. We nonetheless haven’t returned to our 2019 numbers; all indications are that received’t occur till 2023–2024.

“However you understand we’ve given ourselves hope by way of what the longer term holds. The excellent news is with the vaccine coming, there’s a end line. Six months in the past, no one knew the place the end line was.”

TP: The customer expertise in Saint Lucia at this time is clearly considerably totally different in contrast with pre-COVID days, however can guests nonetheless anticipate a consultant Saint Lucia expertise within the vacation spot now?

AC: “Now we have 200,000 American arrivals every year so this isn’t a mass tourism vacation spot. We wish to stay genuine and the vacation spot has lent itself to do what we’re doing as a result of we’ve got loads of open-air tourism like going to the Pitons, or going to Sulfur Springs or zip-lining. All of this stuff are open air.

“We’re very fortunate. Saint Lucia is a romantic vacation spot. Even in our all-inclusive lodges, globally they might be categorized as boutique lodges as a result of they’re that small. Saint Lucia shouldn’t be one in every of these dense tourism populations. We nonetheless have a tourism product that may be very a lot built-in into the DNA of Saint Lucia. Even with among the excursions we’ve got, it was very straightforward to place protocols in place to make them protected. It’s all the time been about holding vacationers protected and holding our native inhabitants protected.”

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