WITH more than 16,000 visitors so far into the country since the return of international flights on 9 July, local tourism authorities say they have not let down their guard regarding COVID-19 protocols and are even more strongly committed to the safety of nationals, visitors and residents.
Joining to stress their support of the protocols were the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT).
According to the trio part of the islands responsible reopening plan was the investing of millions of dollars to implement and maintain safety protocols.
“All arriving passengers and returning nationals are subject to strictly enforced guidelines throughout their visit,” the trio noted.
Saint Lucia joins the rest of the world in battling the pandemic, recording 48 cases to date including six new ones yesterday. Notwithstanding this, the authorities say Saint Lucia continues to earn and retain its premier position as the Caribbean country with the fewest number of cases per capita.
The SLTA and SLHTA applaud the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the general public for their continued adherence to Covid-19 protocols, which they say has helped the island to propel its reputation internationally as one of the safest places in the world to visit at this time.
They claimed that the far-reaching series of Covid-19 actions that were developed in partnership with the public and private sectors, were designed to protect the health of both citizens and visitors. Protocols include a negative Covid-19 PCR test result for all arrivals; daily screening and monitoring of hotel staff and visitors; sanitization at numerous touch points throughout the travellers’ journey in Saint Lucia; mandatory face-coverings and physical distancing.
“The key stakeholders within the tourism industry have worked together closely since the pandemic began, developing public and private sector initiatives and dedicating significant resources to the island’s Covid-19 response. Since the resumption of commercial flights on July 9, the tourism sector has been very vigilant in maintaining the protocols set by the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Minister of Tourism, Dominic Fedee said, assuring Saint Lucians of the industry’s commitment to remain transparent “as we continue to build confidence among international travellers and as we reinforce our strong commitment and track record of 100 percent tourism industry compliance to all Covid-19 protocols.”
The strict adherence to guidelines has not only helped to mitigate the spread and importation of Covid-19 it has also helped to reignite the tourism industry. As a result of the responsible approach to reopening, more Covid-19 Certified hotels are scheduled to open in November, new activities are continuously being certified and additional sectors such as the restaurant industry are being reopened for tourism.
A release from the three tourism entities noted that as the destination gears up for increased arrivals with the reopening of additional accommodations and additional air service, safety protocols are critically important to protect local citizens and to keep the momentum going for the thousands of Saint Lucians who are involved in every aspect of tourism.
“We acknowledge the hospitality sector’s adherence to these procedures as it has helped to facilitate our responsible reopening and we have every confidence that Saint Lucia will continue to offer the safest possible environment for visitors and nationals,” stated the release.
According to Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association, the health and safety of guests, team members and local communities remain the paramount concerns of the island’s tourism businesses.
“Given the importance of our hospitality and tourism industry to the country’s overall economic recovery, our professionals recognize the importance of remaining vigilant and upholding the highest possible standards at all times. Together with our public sector partners, we are entirely committed to working together closely with all stakeholders to allow for the continued success of the country’s tourism reopening strategy,” she said.
Meanwhile congratulations continue to pour in for Sanovnik Destang who assumed the role of 3rd Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
According to the SLTA, which congratulated Destang, the CHTA has been the pillar of the Caribbean hospitality industry working together with over 1,000 hotels, allied members, and National Hotel Associations in shaping the Caribbean’s future, while helping members to grow their business.
Destang is the Executive Director and shareholder of local resort chain, Bay Gardens Resorts providing leadership to the brand for the past 12 years. He is also a former Regional Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and has served in various capacities over the last eight years.
He is currently the Immediate Past President of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) having previously served as the President of the Association from February 2016 to July 2018. As President of the Association he played a pivotal role in leading many advocacy efforts on several important matters including the Sharing Economy, Taxation and Alternative Energy.
Financed by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund, his work during the period 2014-2016 in expanding the Association’s efforts in the fields of Linkages and People Development with the establishment of the award winning Virtual Agricultural Clearing House and the SLHTA Young Leaders Initiative, have not gone unnoticed.
Mr. Destang has also served as a Director on the board of the Saint Lucia Development Bank, a Director and member of the Marketing Committee at the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Deputy Chairman of the Youth Enterprise Equity Fund and member of the Investment Committee at the National Insurance Corporation.
Under the Presidency of Mr. Pablo J. Torres, Mr. Sanovnik Destang will serve on the executive for the period 2020 – 2022 along with 1st Vice President – Nicola Madden-Greig, 2nd Vice President – Gregor Nassief, 4th Vice President – Leo Garbutt, 5th Vice President- Bill Clegg, and Treasurer – Jim Hepple.