The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on destinations around the world that rely on tourism, and island nations in the Caribbean have been among the hardest hit economically.
Kalim Shah, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Delaware, can provide insight into pandemic-related trends in U.S. travel to major island vacation destinations and the impact of travel regulations. in the United States and on the islands of destination on the island economies.
It can also discuss strategies for recovering economic losses; how the American islands have been innovative in winning back certain markets and changing strategies to rebuild tourism sectors; the impact of the closures on the hotel industry, including US hotel chains in island nations; and how the pandemic is changing practices related to corporate environmental health in the island hospitality sector.
He offered the following key points taken from a recent article he wrote, “Caribbean Public Health Management: Reform requirements updated by the COVID-19 authentication.”
- Even though omicron is increasing infection rates, vaccination rates in many Caribbean islands have slowed, hovering between 40-60%.
- Vaccine access and vaccine hesitancy color the situation in the Caribbean islands and have diverse roots ranging from cultural beliefs to insufficient public interventions.
- Travel restrictions in the United States continue to have devastating economic effects on Caribbean islands already heavily indebted and dependent on tourism.
- The UK has now resumed flights to most Caribbean islands for impatient European travelers who have been stranded.
- Travel restrictions in the United States are also impacting U.S.-Caribbean trade relations, which will have longer-term consequences.