The coronavirus pandemic is why an 18% loss to Antigua and Barbuda’s GDP in 2020 and a rise in unemployment rates to more than 30%, Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated.
Although Prime Minister Gaston Browne reopened international borders in June, it took a while to recover the tourism sector.
Antigua and Barbuda’s community of 100,000 observed just 159 reported cases of Covid-19 and 5 related deaths, presenting the islands of 365 beaches the appearance of a haven.
Those numbers meant that only 1 out of every 629 citizens ever acquired the infection in 2020; during the peak of the second stream in July, it would have become Miami just three days to produce roughly the same levels of virality beyond its community of six million.
Consequently, nearly 15,000 tourists flew or boated to Antigua and Barbuda in December, more than increasing numbers from the month before.
That began a new wave of continued tourism larger than any other throughout the global pandemic. But as more guests arrived, so did the cases of COVID-19.
That’s forced Gaston Browne and his administration to evaluate how closely equated global travel has been to the public health disaster and uncover that not all kinds of travel are equally problematic.
Their findings could take on new urgency as travel specialists prescribe Caribbean trips to clients—newly inoculated and otherwise—not just for the remainder of the spring period but even into the typically low-season summertime months.
“Tourists are handled from the time they leave the plane to the time they [get back on the] plane,” stated Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez, adding that every individual traveller comes in contact with—from taxi driver to tour operator—is taught in safety protocols. He says fewer than 10 people travelling solely as tourists have tested positive for coronavirus since the U.S. and U.K. mandated PCR testing before re-entry in January, and there’s no proof of transmission in the hotel industry.
Both Fernandez and Gaston Browne stated it was 1,500 ex-pats who returned for the vacations—making up 7% of inbound entries throughout the festive season—that were flouting the regulations when they briefly extended an opportunity for at-home quarantines centre.
The agreement was so bad, the nation at one point admitted mandating ankle monitors. But it rather nixed at-home quarantine options in mid-January, sending coronavirus cases back down.