The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) has made its case to the government of Canada to reconsider new pandemic testing rules.
The body argued the move will strain already stressed Caribbean public health systems and cause further damage to the local economy.
From January 7th Canada has required all residents and travellers entering from the Caribbean provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test before their departure.
“This policy is creating challenges and places even greater economic hardship on the people and governments of the Caribbean and on the thousands of Canadians currently in the Caribbean who are scheduled to return home in the coming weeks,” said CHTA acting chief executive, Vanessa Ledesma.
The mere announcement of the policy has resulted in a rash of cancellations by Canadians who had been scheduled to travel to the region, Ledesma observed, further harming already fragile businesses and economies and keeping more employees from returning to work.
“As the policy takes effect, we anticipate many stranded Canadians being unable to return home due to their inability to get tests in the required time,” she lamented.
Ledesma added that this is further reinforced by the low tourism-related transmission rates in the region.
“On behalf of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and the 33 national hotel and tourism associations throughout the region, which are part of our Federation, we respectfully request reconsideration of this policy for the Caribbean,” CHTA stated in a submission to Canada minister of transport, Marc Garneau.