BHTA welcomes lifting of curfew and ease of some restrictions

Key players in the tourism sector have fully welcome Government’s decision to lift the curfew and other restrictions that will lead to the resumption of a number of services.

In a statement, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Renée Coppin said the changes will have a positive impact.

She also reiterated her call for an urgent review of the island’s entry protocols.

Below is the full text of the statement:

Our direct tourism services members, in particular the catamarans, nightclubs and tour companies, are delighted to be able to return to full capacity.  The restaurants have also signalled that they are extremely happy.

This will have an immediate positive impact on service delivery as they will not have to rush patrons and can manage capacity in a way that allows them to be more viable. Critically, it will also improve the ability of their staff to get home without the stressor of the curfew.

Members still have some questions regarding milestone events such as weddings and other occasions, where they are still unclear about restrictions on the number of persons in attendance.

We in the wider association hope that this augurs well for our continued call for an urgent review of the entry protocols.  We are very cognizant of the strongly held belief by Barbadians that the tourists bring in COVID; however, we need to ensure that Barbadians are aware that is not supported by the current statistics we have received.

These stats point to lower positivity rates in our source markets, which, when coupled with their higher levels of vaccination, mean that we are at a decreased risk from our visitors.  We are also signalling that many of our competitive destinations have put in place simplified, updated entry protocols.  These protocols include more recent testing using rapid antigen tests and these destinations have not had any commensurate increase in caseloads as an outcome of this decision.

Almost all of our guests are entering the island tested, vaccinated and, in many cases, boosted and so we are again requesting that our entry protocols be reviewed to make them more current and fit for purpose and to allow our sector to be more competitive as this pandemic evolves.

Renée Coppin,

Chairman – Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).

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