It takes effort

It takes effort

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA and Interim Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Omar Ottley said during Wednesday’s press briefing that the COVID-19 insurance for incoming guests will no longer be mandatory from October 15, but rather optional. Most other countries in the region had long since ended the pandemic-related requirement.
The entire Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) is being phased out by early 2023. Returning unvaccinated residents soon won’t have to take a pre-flight coronavirus test either.
Such relaxations are important to drive bookings heading towards a high season that will apparently once again prove a “make-it-or-break-it” one for many businesses and their employees, sole proprietors, independent operators, vendors, etc. The war in Eastern Europe and its far-reaching consequences especially for global energy and consumer goods prices have made yet another severe socioeconomic impact on the island and could even negatively affect its visitor arrivals.
The importance of doing whatever is responsibly possible to ensure the latter doesn’t happen, or at least not to a large extent, cannot be overemphasised. All concerned, including government, the local private sector and major stakeholders like airlines, need to keep in mind that competing destinations are equally eager to recover and certainly not sitting still.
The minister also announced that the Carnival Group would be providing more calls to Port St. Maarten and doubling capacity by switching to vessels that can accommodate more than 4,000 passengers. With less than a month before the start of the 2022/2023 cruise season, that is undoubtedly welcome news, particularly to those whose income heavily relies on people coming off the ships.
While the tourism outlook in general was said to be favourable, making that a realty and translating such into enough earnings for the dominant hospitality industry is a different story. It takes effort.

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