by Linda Straker
- Revitalising OECS tourism markets a priority for new US Administration
- USA is Caribbean’s largest source market for tourism
- Over 2,000 employed in hospitality sector have lost their jobs
Revitalising Grenada’s and the other OECS member states’ tourism markets as part of balancing livelihood and sustainable developments amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is one of the priorities for the new US Administration.
“Once everyone is settled down, I would like to see an engagement with the Caribbean on some of the key issues of the Caribbean, now particularly with Covid-19 and the economic impact it has had on the islands, especially in the area of tourism,” said Linda Taglialatela, USA Ambassador to Barbados and the OECS.
“We really need to focus on how to revitalise the economy and how do we help. How do we help the countries move forward with monetary losses due to a lack of tourism?” she said during an interview last week Friday. Other areas of focus for the continued sustainable development of USA–OECS and Barbados relations will also include climate change, climate resilience and immigration.
“We really need to work closely on these issues.” Taglialatela is one of the few ambassadors to work directly with 3 administrations, having started her assignment to the OECS under the Barack Obama administration, followed by Donald Trump and now with Joseph Biden.
The USA is the Caribbean largest source market for tourism, and since the global pandemic was declared in February 2020 the travel and tourism industry is among the source of employment hardest hit. In Grenada, more than 2,000 employed directly or indirectly in the hospitality sector have lost their jobs because of Covid-19 measures.
Although countries are accepting commercial flights from the USA, PCR negative tests have now become a normal travel entry document to entry destinations including Canada, the USA and most Caribbean nations.