Most of the tourism-dependent Caribbean has been hard-hit as a result of COVID-19, which forced islands to close borders in mid-March. Now, as the number of cases gradually decline, more destinations are outlining plans to reopen to commercial and international travel.
Antigua and Barbuda has opened its borders to all countries, and welcomed its first international flight, from American Airlines out of Miami, on June 4.
During a recent online presentation, Colin James, CEO of Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, said bookings are already on an upwards trajectory, with a majority of bookings during the final three months of the year.
As part of the phased reopening, American will operate a daily flight from Miami.
Current open resorts include The Admiral's Inn, Antigua Village, Buccaneer Beach Club, Hawskbill Resort, Heritage Hotel, Hodges Bay Resort & Spa, Tamarind Hills, Hammock Cove Resort & Spa, and Sandals Grande Antigua. Several others are to open later in June or in early July.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation recently announced the country will reopen its borders to travel on July 1. Hotels and vacation rentals, and all local transportation including taxis and buses, will be able to resume on that date.
The Bahamas will also restrict buffets at its properties “until further notice” and guests at resorts will be encouraged to purchase, instead of rent, personal gear such as snorkeling equipment.
Airlines will also begin flying from the U.S. and Canada into some of the Bahamas’ territories starting in July, though a lot haven’t opened up all their availability yet. Both Southwest and American will have flights into Nassau in July.
Later that month, on July 22, Turks and Caicos will begin welcoming visitors.
Airline partners have confirmed flight service will resume from within the United States, Canada, and Europe as soon as the destination is ready. Private jet terminals will open on July 22 as well in conjunction with the reopening of Providenciales International Airport.
Hotels and resorts, private villas, restaurants and bars, and tour operators are finalizing protocols and gearing up to accept bookings for upcoming trips to the destination. Club Med Turkoise will begin welcoming guests on Aug. 1.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the borders will be open to international travelers on June 15. Health screenings will be conducted upon arrival, and face masks will be mandatory at the airport, in taxis and at the hotels and resorts.
Couples Resorts, a Jamaican luxury all-inclusive hospitality company, will reopen all four of their resorts July 1.
Southwest Airlines just said it will be resuming some routes to Montego Bay, Jamaica’s tourism hub, beginning July 1. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines will relaunch daily flights from Atlanta to Montego Bay this month.
The U.S. Virgin Islands officially reopened to visitors on June 1. However, a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in effect through July 11. Thermal scanners are being installed at the airports, and other measures are in place to track visitors and their health.