As destinations worldwide begin to reopen regionally at first, our plans to travel to Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America have to be put on hold for a bit. This gives us the opportunity to rediscover America and travel domestically. But we can also this summer take advantage of the good luck that we’re in the same region as the wonderful islands of the Caribbean.
These islands are largely dependent on tourism, and they were still on their way to full recovery from the devastating 2017 hurricane season when the novel coronavirus hit. Fortunately, most of them have managed to avoid large-scale medical damage from COVID-19, but the lack of visitors has certainly hurt their economies.
Being careful to protect their people from potential infection, many Caribbean destinations are getting ready to reopen to tourism in time for the summer season.
Antigua and St. Lucia began welcoming visitors last week, requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours of boarding a plane to either island. The U.S. Virgin Islands have reopened to tourism, but safer at home orders remain in effect, limiting bar and restaurant capacity to 50% and gatherings to 10 people. Jamaica will open to tourists June 15, with facemasks required in airports, taxis and hotels and travelers screened on arrival. Aruba plans to reopen between June 15 and July 1, with entry requirements still to be announced. The Bahamas have reopened all airports, and tourism will resume July 1. Turks & Caicos plans to reopen to visitors July 22.
Grenada hopes to welcome visitors starting June 30, but plans are not firm. St. Maarten, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the hardest hit Caribbean nation with more than 500 deaths, anticipate July reopenings. The Cayman Islands will not open before Sept. 1, and several other islands have not yet announced reopening dates.
As always, we ask our travelers to be respectful of the places and people they are visiting and follow any face covering and social distancing rules in place. We at DMC Travel Tailor will be happy to provide more specific information about individual islands and resorts. It’s been a tough few months, and we can’t freely roam everywhere in the world just yet, but we’re thrilled that some of the most beautiful islands you could ever hope to see are welcoming us back, and we’re thrilled to support them.
Cleanliness and privacy have always been luxuries, but they are certainly at the forefront for travelers now. As they reopen, hotels and resorts are going the extra mile to help guests feel comfortable and welcomed as the COVID-19 era enters a new phase. Your vacation is a precious investment of time and money, and the last thing you want is more worry.
To ease guests’ minds, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba is cleaning with environmentally safe hospital grade hydrogen peroxide, ionizer treatment, ultraviolet air and surface sanitizer and installing HEPA air cleaners. After cleaning, rooms are sealed, with a sticker letting arriving guests know that no one has been inside since. Electrostatic guns will apply sanitizer in all public areas, including at the beach.
Chable Maroma and Chable Yucatan on Mexican’s Yucatan Peninsula have added ozone generators for deep sanitation of guest rooms. Sheets, towels and linens are disinfected using steam-based and biodegradable processes, and hygiene stations featuring hand sanitizer are spread throughout the resorts. The sprawling nature of the resorts provides natural social distancing, as freestanding casitas and villas are separated by at least 30 feet from the next.
Marriott’s global cleanliness council continues to introduce innovations at the chain’s more than 7,300 hotels worldwide, including the Ritz-Carlton brand. Electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectants are used to clean guest rooms. Hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout hotels and resort grounds. Disinfectant wipes are placed in each room as an amenity. At more than 3,000 Marriott properties, contactless check-in, key card access and room service ordering are available via smartphone. Single-use plastic cups are made from plant material in Ritz-Carlton properties.
In collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, Four Seasons hotels and resorts are implementing the Lead With Care program that includes a hygiene officer at each property, blacklight inspection after cleaning and hourly sanitizing of common areas. Room amenities include face masks, sanitizer spray and wipes. The Four Seasons app and chat feature allow contactless communication with staff. Contactless in-room dining delivery comes in sustainable, single-use packaging.
Restaurants and pool areas will offer limited seating to ensure social distancing, so planning ahead is crucial. Things sure are different, but there are still wonderful places in this world worth exploring. What hasn’t changed is that our partners will go the extra mile to ensure you can enjoy your getaway safely and have a home away from home.