Restoring confidence in travel to the Caribbean in the era of COVID-19 is a formidable challenge, but an effort should be made to contribute some of the best minds to share in an international collaborative strategy to restore visitor confidence in Caribbean holiday making.
DeLisle Worrell, former governor of the Central Bank of Barbados and international economic consultant, suggested the above in his May Economic Letter, which he shared with the local media, the Barbados Advocate reported.
“What may be done to revive Caribbean tourism? Foreign exchange earnings are the glue that keeps Caribbean economies running,” Worrell said. “Everything that we buy in these islands is either imported or produced locally, with the use of imported materials, fuel and other inputs. In the absence of an adequate inflow of foreign exchange, all production and commerce slows down. The main source of foreign exchange in many Caribbean economies is tourism … if commerce and business begin to revive before tourism does, the economy will soon exhaust itself of foreign reserves, as well as whatever foreign exchange it is able to borrow from the IMF, the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and elsewhere.
“It is the travelers who visit the Caribbean from North America and Europe and the airlines who bring them that hold the key to reviving the economies of the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and other tourism-dependent countries,” he said. “Therefore, the first priority for our government is collaboration on a strategy for resumption of Caribbean tourism. Caribbean governments should partner with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, major international airlines, major hotel interests, tour companies and other stakeholders, in discussing protocols for bringing the international travel standstill to an end.”