by Linda Straker
- Traditional tourists over 60 years in highest risk group for developing adverse symptoms to Covid-19
- Incoming passengers mainly returning nationals
- At present, flights are not allowed in from United Kingdom
Barry Collymore, recently appointed Chairman of the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) said that the greatest challenge facing Grenada and other tourism destinations in the post Covid-19 vaccine world is regaining the confidence of travellers.
“In a post vaccine world, the market should rebound better. However, perhaps the greatest of all challenges is regaining the confidence, the desire and exciting potential travellers to journey out again. We cannot assume that cabin fever will be a strong enough factor to reignite the market. Instilling confidence in travel will perhaps be the more important factor,” Collymore said in a recent question and answer session.
Collymore, who has extensive working experience in the sector, which employs thousands in the region and hundreds in Grenada, said that Covid-19 has affected the tourism and travel sector in various ways, and the biggest challenges are successfully and safely restarting the sector.
“The biggest challenge will be successfully and safely restarting tourism. Tourism planners have to walk a tightrope between tourism enjoyment as we know it, and safety protocols. In some cases that tightrope is so thin that it will break every time. This then puts the health and safety of travellers at risk. Therefore, the challenge will be: How do you open safely?” he said.
“The big challenge for Grenada and other parts of the region is the age of our traditional tourist. Most of our tourists are over the age of 60. This puts them in the highest risk group for developing adverse symptoms to Covid-19. This is a huge threat and risk to our traditional tourism market and a signal to tourism planners across the region that they cannot assume business is as usual,” he added.
Due to Covid-19 measures, Grenada in March declared a State of Emergency and a lockdown of the country. That measure affected every industry and allowed for limited operations of businesses. The action shut down the travel and tourism sectors, which reopened in October 2020 with the mandatory requirement that visitors must have a negative PCR test and a quarantine period before incoming passengers could mingle with citizens.
Most incoming passengers are mainly returning nationals with a small percentage of travellers for leisure. At present, flights are not allowed in from the United Kingdom.
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