Further to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) move to place the Cayman Islands to its level 4 list of countries (indicating a very high rate of Covid-19), Cayman’s Ministry of Tourism has issued a response, saying it did not believe Cayman’s tourism industry would be particularly affected.
It pointed out that the Cayman Islands was one of 80 countries around the world on the list of level 4 countries which currently includes the UK, Ireland and Switzerland, along with 15 of Caribbean countries.
Ministry called the decision “regrettable”, but noted the CDC’s advice for travellers to ensure they are vaccinated was in keeping with the Cayman Islands phased border reopening policy, which takes effect on 20 November. The policy stipulates that all visitors to the Island must be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Travellers who arrive prior to the reopening date are required to quarantine for periods of 7,10 or 14 days depending on their vaccination status.
“Given that we are close to reopening the borders, it is understandable that this travel advisory is raising concerns, particularly in relation to tourism. But the reality is the move to level 4 does not automatically mean that the Cayman Islands tourism industry will be negatively affected,” the Ministry said.
Looking around the region and beyond, being at level 4 had not been shown to have any long term or immediate negative impacts on the economies or tourism products of Cayman’s competitors who were placed there before the Cayman Islands, and which are now at level 3. The Cayman Islands is expected to follow suit, they felt.
Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism had not received any indication from tourism stakeholders that this move by the CDC presented a major hurdle, neither had there been any suggestion that vacation bookings were being cancelled due to the CDC rating.
“On the contrary, we do not expect that visitors will be deterred and the Department of Tourism stands by its projection that the Cayman Islands will remain on a path of slow and steady growth following the reopening of borders on 20 November, 2021,” they stated.
The Ministry said government remained confident that stringent health and safety protocols implemented by Public Health would continue to keep residents and visitors to Cayman safe. This was further bolstered by the fact that 80% of the population had had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and 77% were fully vaccinated, having completed the two-dose course. Additionally, 6,163 people representing 9% of those over the age of 50, had received a third or booster dose. As a result of the Islands high vaccination levels, hospitalisations due to Covid-19 were “relatively low”, with 14 patients currently hospitalised in stable condition and none having needed to be ventilated.
The Ministry of Tourism said it urged the public to continue following public health guidelines and personal protection measures against Covid-19 and encouraged anyone who was eligible but not yet vaccinated to consider doing so.