As the U.S. Virgin Islands prepare to reopen, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. said that Caribbean tourism is poised for a strong recovery.
“I expect the Caribbean to do even better as we open up the doors, find a new vaccine, and people start traveling again,” Governor Bryan said during last week’s three-day CHRIS+HOLA Connect virtual hotel investment conference, which combined the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) and Hotel Opportunities Latin America (HOLA).
The “Views from Heads of Government” session, which also featured Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, and was moderated by Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, addressed how the two island communities are coping with the global travel and tourism downturn caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
On June 1, the USVI became one of the first Caribbean destinations to reopen to leisure visitors, though it had to put that reopening on pause on August 19 after recording a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Leisure travel to the Territory will resume again on September 19, with all travelers five years and older being required to present a COVID-19 test result.
Governor Bryan is urging the United States to implement a strict COVID-19 testing policy on all its travelers so that destinations in the Caribbean region can safely reopen their doors.
When islands are open for business, it has a ripple effect on other destinations, especially in the cruise industry, Governor Bryan explained. He also noted that ensuring Puerto Rico – a major travel hub for the region – remains a stable tourism entity is critical for the industry, particularly in the rest of the Eastern Caribbean.
“I just want people to come to the Caribbean so that we all can benefit from it,” he said, “because you see one island, you want to see more.”