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Caribbean tourism hit hard by new COVID-19 surges

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Posted: Friday, September 3, 2021. 8:53 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Just like in Belize were we’re experiencing a spike of COVID-19 cases, the Caribbean countries are going through a similar situation, but what’s bad is that tourism is taking a heavy blow just when things were starting to pick up.

Reuters reports that the surge in coronavirus cases is overwhelming hospitals in Caribbean countries that are imposing new lockdowns and canceling flights.

With the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Delta variant is knocking tourism in countries like Jamaica, Martinique, the Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Dominica.

Nine of the countries in the world’s top 20 tourism destinations are Caribbean countries says data put together by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

In a region where all countries depend primarily on tourism, the new spike, coupled with a low vaccination rate, is taking its toll as businesses find themselves in hot water.

Reuters reports that Dominica and Martinique have imposed a new lockdown and the Cayman Islands closed its entry points to tourists.

Jamaica has remained open, but is feeling the pinch, or rather, the damaging blow. Reports say that in 2020, Jamaica lost $2.5 billion in foreign exchange earnings from tourism. That represents a 74% drop when compared to 2019.

The IDB has said that a way out is through vaccination, but that has been slow because the supply is low and there’s a lack of trust in the vaccines due to negative propaganda.

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