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Tourism experts: prepare for post-coronavirus travel surge

The Caribbean should prepare for an upswing in tourism once the coronavirus pandemic has abated, according to former Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace (pictured) who said this week that islands should take this opportunity to "get their houses in order" so they can maximise the industry when travel resumes. (Stock Photo)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, April 3, 2020
Friday, April 3, 2020

The Caribbean should prepare for an upswing in tourism once the coronavirus pandemic has abated, according to former Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace who said this week that islands should take this opportunity to “get their houses in order” so they can maximise the industry when travel resumes.

“There is enormous pent-up demand for when the all-clear is sounded,” said Vanderpool-Wallace, chairman of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Advocacy Committee. “It is important for the private and public sectors to get together for collaboration on where we go together as a region. So when the all-clear comes we can turn it around very quickly.”


According to the Inter-American Development Bank, the reduction in tourist arrivals due to Covid-19 could slash The Bahamas’ GDP growth estimates by as much as 26 per cent.

But there are important actions Caribbean countries can take now to ensure tourism recovers quickly, according to Martin Stoll, CEO of global social media agency Sparkloft Media. Stoll, who has been tracking consumer data since the crisis began earlier this year, said Caribbean tourism should “embrace a different future” and use social media to engage more fully with future travellers.

He predicts that diaspora tourists will be the first to return to the region, followed by repeat leisure visitors who “have a high understanding of the destination and positive associations with it.”

Stoll also emphasised that stress alleviation and wellbeing will be a prime motivator in bringing people back to the region after the current crisis, which has millions of people quarantined around the world.

Referring to the Caribbean’s long history of health-related travel, Vanderpool-Wallace said: “The Caribbean business started with people travelling to this region for recuperation. We know that is going to happen again and when it does we will be ready.”

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has earmarked at least $500 million to help the Caribbean mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 and will be reframing its regional strategy to focus on supporting SMEs and building capacity in the most vulnerable sectors of the region's economy.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line says it is planning to resume sailings on May 8.

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