Hotels and resorts across Mexico and the Caribbean have borne the brunt of the CDC's recent decision to require Covid-19 tests for all U.S.-bound flyers, with hospitality operators reliant on U.S. tourism moving quickly to ensure guests have access to convenient and reliable on-site testing.
According to Robert Sands, president of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association and a Baha Mar senior executive, the new mandate has made testing "perhaps the single most important amenity at a hotel, as it relates to travel."
But while many larger and well-established properties have successfully rolled out on-site testing over the past week, broader efforts to make testing more accessible and cost-effective, as well as guarantee fast results, have hardly been without challenges.
In a statement, Vanessa Ledesma, acting CEO and director general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, called testing requirements for entry back into the U.S., as well as Canada and the U.K., "a tremendous challenge for most of the small countries and jurisdictions in the Caribbean," citing insufficient testing equipment, lab facilities and manpower in some destinations.
Likewise, Felicia Knaul, a public health expert and the director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, expressed some skepticism around the quick scaling of testing capabilities in markets like Mexico, "where the lack of testing, in general, has been appalling."
Under the CDC's new mandate, travelers must show proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test taken with 72 hours in order to board a flight to the U.S., effective Jan. 26. In the U.K., a similar requirement went into effect earlier this month, while in Canada, proof of a negative PCR test prior to boarding has been mandatory since Jan. 7.
"When we saw Canada announce their policy, we knew the U.S. could follow," said Paul Gielen, general manager of the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. "The U.S. is our bread and butter, so we began calling around to [coordinate on-site testing] early. Our focus was making sure testing wasn't too expensive, and the next concern was, how do you make it easy, so people don't lose half their vacation getting tested?"
In partnership with local lab MedCare Aruba, the Renaissance Aruba was able to get its on-property testing site -- which it claims is the first resort testing facility on the island -- up and running in just a few days. Antigen tests are available for $50 each, with PCR tests -- which are generally considered the gold standard for Covid-19 testing but require a longer turnaround -- offered at $125 each.
The property has also launched a package for travel through April 4, offering complimentary antigen testing for up to two people per room, for stays of four nights or longer.
Though the tests themselves aren't in short supply in Aruba, Gielen did point out that the number of labs on the island able to perform them is relatively small, with only three in operation. While he predicted some larger resorts would forge similar partnerships and be able to bring testing in-house, the amenity isn't likely to be ubiquitous anytime soon.
"Obviously, they have the ability to come in and work with us, but by the time the third or fourth resort reaches out to them, it may not be so easy," said Gielen.
In the Bahamas, testing capacity has been relatively robust, due in part to a requirement, predating the U.S. mandate, that travelers staying in the country longer than five days take an antigen test. (Some resorts, including the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, even require their own testing prior to check-in, on top of the country's existing protocols.)
Sands characterized the Bahamas' existing testing strategy as "very proactive," but even so, he acknowledged that for Bahamian properties in more remote locations, accessible testing for travelers may be more difficult.
"I don't think we have to be concerned about Providence or Grand Bahama and some of the other tourist-heavy islands, but there's still work to be done to instill that same level of confidence on some of the other Family Islands," Sands said.
For AMResorts, which has properties throughout Mexico, Jamaica, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama and Spain, dealing with each destination's disparate testing regulations has at times proven complicated.
Reynal discusses its testing rollout as well as the impact the CDC's new requirement could have on AMResorts' recovery.
While AMResorts has been able to roll out free antigen testing across the vast majority of its portfolio, antigen tests have yet to become available for use in Costa Rica or St. Martin. Consequently, the company's resorts in those markets instead work to facilitate off-site PCR testing for an additional cost.
"We have a strong relationship with the hospitals there, so we can prioritize the processing. Our scale helps a lot," said Gonzalo del Peon Suarez, group president for AMResorts Americas and global commercial. "Hopefully, we'll see those countries accepting the antigen test soon, because it is challenging."
Meanwhile, the University of Miami's Knaul hopes that the new testing requirement will have some positive impact on destinations like Mexico, where tourism demand has remained relatively steady, even as Covid-19 cases continue to surge.
"I would love to see a situation where this results in more reasonably-priced testing for [local residents] who need it," said Knaul. "A hotel could say to a tourist, you pay for a test, and your test will pay for five more tests for people who can't afford them. It's good to require tests to enter a country or get on a plane, as long as it doesn't come at the expense of the local population."
Originally posted here:
- 2 Week Boating Itinerary in the Caribbean - 14 Day Yacht Trip in the Caribbean - TownandCountrymag.com - June 4th, 2021
- Privacy Is the New Luxury: 5 Caribbean Destinations Offering Ultra-Luxe Experiences - Yahoo Finance - June 4th, 2021
- There is a Particular Way Young People from the Caribbean Diaspora Speak to Their Parents and Interact with Family: Mandy Marcus on Her Student Short... - June 4th, 2021
- EU 9M for Caribbean Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation - Guyana - ReliefWeb - June 4th, 2021
- COVID situation in south Caribbean worsens - Amsterdam News - June 4th, 2021
- The New Environmental and Human Rights Treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean You Should Know About - JD Supra - June 4th, 2021
- Could Disney Replace Jack Sparrow with Captain Hook? - Inside the Magic - June 4th, 2021
- Saildrone Launches Five Drones in the Caribbean to Help Us Fight Hurricanes - autoevolution - June 4th, 2021
- New Pirates Of The Caribbean Movie May Introduce Captain Hook - We Got This Covered - June 4th, 2021
- Turmeric Is The Caribbeans Spice Of Life - Forbes - June 2nd, 2021
- More Flights from Canada to the Caribbean This Winter - Caribbean Journal - June 2nd, 2021
- Third Horizon Film Festival Puts A Spotlight On Caribbean Creatives - Broadway World - June 2nd, 2021
- Law&Crime Expands Its Cable Footprint Across The Caribbean and Latin America With a Launch on Flow - Law & Crime - June 2nd, 2021
- Sneak Peek: Tequila Butcher at the Caribbean - Mpls.St.Paul Magazine - June 2nd, 2021
- Spain will open its borders to cruise ships in June - Royal Caribbean Blog - June 2nd, 2021
- The Caribbean, united by tourism, is divided by Covid. - The New York Times - May 27th, 2021
- The Caribbean Conundrum: United by Tourists, Divided by Covid - The New York Times - May 27th, 2021
- The US Virgin Islands Is the Caribbean's Hottest Yachting Destination - Caribbean Journal - May 27th, 2021
- Latin America and the Caribbean's pandemic dilemma: Lives or livelihoods? - World Bank Group - May 27th, 2021
- Latin America and the Caribbean surpass 1 million COVID deaths - Pan American Health Organization - May 27th, 2021
- Latin America & The Caribbean Weekly Situation Update (17-23 May 2021), as of 24 May 2021 - Mexico - ReliefWeb - May 27th, 2021
- Umaya Village in Belize is the Caribbeans first remote work community - Globetrender - May 27th, 2021
- Webinar: Implementation of the WHO Global Initiative on Childhood Cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean - Pan American Health Organization - May 27th, 2021
- Acclaimed Caribbean eatery shacks up at Hemisfair with third location - culturemap.com - May 27th, 2021
- Husbands and Caribbean riders set for action at Woodbine - Nation News - May 27th, 2021
- Wealthy Indians look to the Caribbean for greener pastures - The Statesman - May 27th, 2021
- Regional priorities for skills and technical education in the Eastern Caribbean States amid COVID-19 - World Bank Group - May 14th, 2021
- The Caribbean's Newest Relais & Chateaux Resort Is in Turks and Caicos - Caribbean Journal - May 14th, 2021
- The Caribbean Urgently Needs Air Travel: How Can It Be Restored? - Simple Flying - May 14th, 2021
- Cruise Ship Deals From Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival and Others - Newsweek - May 14th, 2021
- ACLED Regional Overview Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (1 - 7 May 2021) - Mexico - ReliefWeb - May 14th, 2021
- Latin America & The Caribbean - Monthly Situation Snapshot - As of 11 May 2021 - Argentina - ReliefWeb - May 14th, 2021
- From Cape Cod to Marthas Vineyard to the Caribbean, These Beach Reads Will Whisk You Into Summer - The New York Times - May 14th, 2021
- Royal Caribbean Resumes Recruiting Indian Crewmembers - The Maritime Executive - May 14th, 2021
- Royal Caribbean says passengers will not have to wear face masks on Perfect Day at CocoCay - Royal Caribbean Blog - May 14th, 2021
- Associate, Latin American and the Caribbean Programs - ReliefWeb - May 14th, 2021
- Royal Caribbean Ship to Host Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2022 - Cruise Industry News - May 14th, 2021
- Caribbean-Themed 90 Day Fianc Spinoff Among Summer Slate Coming to Discovery Plus and TLC (EXCLUSIVE) - Yahoo Entertainment - May 14th, 2021
- 5 cruise trends Royal Caribbean doesn't do (and 1 it jumped on) - Royal Caribbean Blog - May 14th, 2021
- Tom Hiddleston Recalls his Pirates of the Caribbean Audition - Pirates and Princesses - May 14th, 2021
- Boris Johnson being investigated over Caribbean holiday - The Guardian - May 14th, 2021
- Quarterly Mixed Migration Update Latin America and the Caribbean, Quarter 1, 2021 - World - ReliefWeb - April 23rd, 2021
- David Mullings Shows Investors That Money Can Be Made in the Caribbean Market - Black Enterprise - April 23rd, 2021
- Hyatt Is Opening Another All-Inclusive in the Caribbean - Caribbean Journal - April 23rd, 2021
- Hotels: New and Renovated in the Caribbean - Travel Agent - April 23rd, 2021
- Philly theater, Caribbean food, and Camden celebrates Earth Day in this weeks Things To Do - WHYY - April 23rd, 2021
- Alaska is out, but the Caribbean is full speed ahead: What we know about cruising in 2021 - CNBC - April 23rd, 2021
- Designing the Caribbean's Greatest Pools - Caribbean Journal - April 23rd, 2021
- Seabourn Reveals Fall, Winter & Spring 2022-2023 Voyages Throughout The Caribbean, Panama Canal, Australia & New Zealand, And Asia -... - April 23rd, 2021
- Nam Tai Property Announces Issuance of Stay by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in the British Virgin Islands - PRNewswire - April 23rd, 2021
- Carnival Itinerary Planning: Focus on the Caribbean - Cruise Industry News - April 23rd, 2021
- Pope offers prayers for people on Caribbean island threatened by volcano - The Catholic Spirit - April 23rd, 2021
- Toxic Plume from Caribbean Volcano Wraps Around Earth; Arrives Over India - Weatherboy - April 23rd, 2021
- Latin America & The Caribbean Weekly Situation Update (12-18 April 2021), as of 19 April 2021 - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - ReliefWeb - April 23rd, 2021
- Did You Participate In Any Of Caribbean Investment Holdings' (LON:CIHL) Incredible 423% Return? - Yahoo Finance - April 23rd, 2021
- Travel Advisory Update for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - US Embassy Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean | US Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern... - April 23rd, 2021
- Ash coats Caribbean island of Saint Vincent after volcano eruption - Reuters - April 11th, 2021
- At the Table: A taste of the Caribbean? Walk this way - The Daily Gazette - April 11th, 2021
- COVID-19 and the Impact on Caribbean Culture The Colgate Maroon-News - The Colgate Maroon-News - April 11th, 2021
- Sailfish Brewing Co. of Fort Pierce to open in Vero Beach, expand to Caribbean - TCPalm - April 11th, 2021
- Local vet rescues stray canine from the Caribbean - Richland Source - April 11th, 2021
- Caribbean countries boost the capacities of nurses in critical care during COVID-19 - World Health Organization - March 31st, 2021
- Italian Fugitive Arrested In Caribbean Thanks To Cooking Videos - NPR - March 31st, 2021
- Canada scales up its support to PAHO in its COVID-19 response in the Caribbean - Pan American Health Organization - March 31st, 2021
- Caribbean appeals to Biden to share vaccines with U.S. 'third border' - Reuters - March 31st, 2021
- A better approach to U.K.-Caribbean relations - Virgin Islands Daily News - March 31st, 2021
- Latin America & The Caribbean Weekly Situation Update (22-28 March 2021), as of 29 March 2021 - El Salvador - ReliefWeb - March 31st, 2021
- Marriott Is Adding Another All-Inclusive in Mexico Caribbean Journal - Caribbean Journal - March 31st, 2021
- 114 million children still out of the classroom in Latin America and the Caribbean - World - ReliefWeb - March 31st, 2021
- Some Tourists Find Luck in the Caribbean with Covid-19 Vaccine - The New York Times - March 31st, 2021
- Iconic Caribbean hotel unveil refurbishments this Winter : Curtain Bluff, Antigua Hospitality Net - Hospitality Net - March 31st, 2021
- Director of Programmes and Development Americas and the Caribbean Regional Office - ReliefWeb - March 31st, 2021
- Caribbean Airlines Partners with Ink Aviation to Debut Technology to Help Safeguard Borders - AviationPros.com - March 31st, 2021
- 25 cool details you missed in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies - Insider - March 31st, 2021
- Disneylands Pirates of the Caribbean ride once had real human bones and maybe still does - SF Gate - March 31st, 2021
- Netflix Documentary Shows How Accurate Pirates Of The Caribbean Was - Screen Rant - March 31st, 2021
- Millions of children out of school in Latin America and Caribbean - Vatican News - March 31st, 2021
- AMResorts Launches On-Site Testing in the Caribbean - Caribbean Journal - March 18th, 2021
- COVID-19 and the Learning Crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean: How Can We Prevent a Tragedy? - World Bank Group - March 18th, 2021
- Why Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Was Banned In China | Screen Rant - Screen Rant - March 18th, 2021