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Regional tourism head calls for greater discretion with travel advisors against Caribbean destinations

Global travel advisors yesterday called for more consistency with travel requirements across borders and for health officials to use more discretion when issuing travel advisories against countries.

Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Vanessa Ledesma said harmonization is critical to restoring consumer confidence in traveling.

She said there should be a unified approach to testing and travel protocols throughout the region and larger hospitality industry around the world.

“We have this continuous discussion with our partners at CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) and it’s science driven that PCR testing remains the gold standard,” she said.

“However, as more tests are developed and there are more vaccinated travelers, it’s a matter of analyzing the risk assessment and determining based on the data what changes need to take place.

“When we look at data, it also should apply as well when destinations are assigned a threat level. We’ve been seeing in the past few days some of the most popular Caribbean destinations go into a higher threat level in the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) listings because of small spikes and in some instances over one case. So, having an in-depth look at what is going on in the destination and particularly the successes we’ve had in the strict adherence and deployment of the protocols is vital.”

Her comments come a day after the CDC raised its travel advisory to a level four rating for Jamaica, weeks after adding The Bahamas to the list, which includes around 80 destinations.

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) hosted the panel of global travel advisors from North America, Europe, the UK, and the Caribbean who discussed the current state of cross border travel and how governments around the world can ease the negative impact of travel restrictions on the global travel industry.

“Marketing and public relations is the most sought out incentive for regional tourism stakeholders,” Ledesma said.

“It is very important that across the world all of our markets know what’s going on in our particular destinations. Also, we have to realize that sessions such as this that highlight the economic value of tourism are important. And it’s not only that direct contribution, there’s also that indirect and induced. And in regions where tourism is critical and drives the economy, highlighting the value of facilitating travel from our most important markets is important.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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