This month, the region celebrates Caribbean Tourism Month even while grappling with the covid19 pandemic. In a release on Monday on its website, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation said the pandemic’s impact on the sector has been immense.
It added there was a 57 per cent decline in arrivals during the first six months of 2020, an estimated 50 per cent to 60 per cent fall in visitor spend and tens of thousands of jobs lost.
“Those still employed have, in several cases, accepted reductions in working hours and wage cuts.”
The organisation said the Caribbean had shown resilience by the progress made towards resuming tourism activity with 25 Caribbean countries having reopened their borders to commercial travel, fully or partially.
Other countries are also putting measures in place to welcome visitors.
The theme for this year’s observance is "The Caribbean awaits."
The organisation said the theme “complements the region’s success in generally containing the spread of covid19 which has taken a major toll on tourism along with other sectors of our economies.
“Caribbean countries have taken the required steps to protect our citizens and residents, conducted the required training to prepare our tourism and related frontline workers for the return of visitors and put the health protocols in place to reassure our potential visitors and residents that we take their health seriously. This has been the groundwork and now we seek to rebuild the sector.”
In observing the month, the organisation and its members have planned a week of social media activities.
“We cannot rest on our laurels, and we remain cognizant of the toll that covid19 has taken, and continues to take on our economies, and importantly, our people. In all of our destinations, we must remain vigilant and constantly adjust to what is probably one of the most dynamic situations any of us will ever face. We hope and pray for recovery; it will be slow, but every step forward is a welcome one,” the release said.
On its Facebook page, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts wished the region a happy Caribbean Tourism Month and said it paid tribute to the national and regional tourism products and “resiliently forge forward as we rest and reimagine the future of our sector.”