“We’re not fooling ourselves. We fully expect to see a slow return of travel,” said Frank Comito, the chief executive and director general of the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association, which represents 33 national hotel associations in the region. “We expect those that do open up in the coming months will take some time to see hotel occupancy levels even approach 50 percent.”
As countries reopen, most are mandating face masks indoors and social distancing.
Other restrictions vary widely. Aruba will reopen to Canadians, Europeans and most Caribbean nationals on July 1, and to visitors from the United States on July 10. St. Maarten has announced its airport will reopen July 1 as long as Covid-19 cases remain at zero. The Cayman Islands, a nation much less reliant on tourism (about 30 percent of its economy) compared to many of its neighbors, will wait until September. St. Barts is among several islands requiring a negative Covid-19 test of arrivals or offering one on the spot (for 155 euros, or about $175). Bonaire and Curacao will reopen July 1, to some Europeans.
“The U.S.A. is not part of this reopening phase due to the fact that it is still considered high risk,” according to a letter from Bonaire tourism to its travel partners.
As governments have clarified their policies, airlines, including American, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest, plan to resume service to many Caribbean destinations in July.
When they do, they’ll be flying into a hurricane season that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted could be above normal. In May, it forecast 13 to 19 named storms, including three to six major hurricanes at Category 3 and above.