The Caribbean Enigma: United by Tourists, Divided by Covid
Then, in March, Aruba partnered with JetBlue, which offers approximately 40 weekly flights from the United States to the island, to launch CommonPass, the world’s first digital vaccine passport. Digital pass holders can take a virtually supervised home PCR test within three days of departure, download the results, and cut immigration lines. United flights to Aruba from Newark and Houston also use the pass, with plans for additional routes in the near future.
“We wanted to create a way to make it easier for travelers and more efficient for our airline partners,” said Shensly Tromp, director of development and technology at Aruba Airport Authority NV, “without compromising the guarantees that we have health and safety in place. “
Immunization information will be added to CommonPass as of June.
Before the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of the island’s gross domestic product and nearly 85% of jobs were rooted in tourism, according to WTTC analysis. Now, with tourism up 53 percent from February to March, Dangui Oduber, the Minister of Tourism, Public Health and Sports, has noted a “continuous rise” since the rollout of the dual CommonPass and vaccines from Aruba.
Aruba is also a world leader in the field of vaccinations. As of mid-May, nearly 57,500 Aruba had been at least partially vaccinated, with the island hopefully reaching herd immunity this summer, Oduber said.
“ Reach the final zone ” in the USVI
Even when Americans were excluded from most of the world, the borders with the U.S. Virgin Islands never closed. Lured there by slogans like “Reconnect with Heaven” and the chance for anyone to get the shot, before many can even get the shot in their homes, visitors recently took to the beaches and restaurants across America. .
Hotel occupancy rates in the USVI are almost triple that of the region and seven times that of the Bahamas, according to a recent analysis by STR, a global hotel data and analysis company.
Visitors are required to get tested but not to self-quarantine. With the swarm of tourists, the USVI prioritized hotel workers at the start of its vaccine rollout. So in February, Sandy Colasacco, a nurse practitioner who runs the Island Health and Wellness Center, a nonprofit clinic serving a large portion of the uninsured population of St. John’s, contacted most restaurants and hotels for make an appointment.