Promoting the Caribbean as a safe tourism option for long-stay visitors during the coming winter season is an interesting initiative put forth by Kedrick Malone, former director of tourism for the British Virgin Islands and now president of a consulting firm in the BVI. On July 10, he outlined a “COVID-19-free” Caribbean winter destination idea and how the region could become a model for the coexistence of health and economy during the pandemic.
“Let’s rethink this now,” Malone said. “Many families in the colder flu zone states and countries are anticipating a second wave of Covid. Many parents are working from home as schools are likely to continue remote learning programs, but internet services and Zoom calls in many parts of the Caribbean are comparable to those in metropolitan [areas]. Spending extended periods in the Caribbean with its outdoor activities and offerings could be a viable option for families this winter.”
Extended Stays in Vacation Homes, like Vacasa, or other Rental Options
Additionally, extended stays would provide some recurring revenue to Caribbean governments with revenues redirected to local businesses. Undoubtedly, the lost revenue of the last four months and the cost of stimulus packages have placed unsustainable financial stress on already struggling Caribbean economies. The concept echoes some other travel trends, particularly in the high-end market, with vacation-rental stays lengthening and other travelers sheltering in place at upscale villas. Recently, we outlined this idea with Vacasa’s work from home in a home-away-from-home concept. Presently, testing before departure and after arrival is a protocol that is currently required by many Caribbean nations, including Belize.
Communications from the destination regarding entry requirements, and airport arrival procedures, and from the resort and hospitality providers regarding service and safety standards are key to implementing a safe tourism plan for visitors. So in the meantime, many long-term rental options—whether as a condominium, like the Landings at Tres Cocos, or private villa, like Grand Caribe Belize—prepare with enhanced health and safety protocols.
“The Caribbean has to get the how and when right, and their challenge is intensified because some of their source markets have not curtailed the virus at home.”
The tourism-dependent Caribbean
Malone is convinced the region can open up its economies and at the same time keep its citizens, workers, and guests safe in a managed risk environment. Essentially elaborating that there is an opportunity for the Caribbean to implement a framework to positively position for the coming winter season. With economies so heavily depending on tourism, the Caribbean needs visitors, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.