The vacationer business itself educated Americans to consider the Caribbean as “sun, sand and sea,” and to consider the varied islands as interchangeable, Mr. Mignott mentioned. Other than the ocean they share, the islands are completely different, every with a singular geological and human historical past. The older islands to the west, together with Cuba, are fashioned of limestone and billions of shells and skeletons of historic marine life, whereas the black cliffs and crags of the youthful islands alongside the japanese edge — the place the Caribbean and the Atlantic tectonic plates grind towards one another — are relics of violent prehistoric volcanic occasions.
In my years exploring the Caribbean, I’ve visited Guadeloupe, Bonaire, St. John, Vieques, Jamaica and Tobago, and met individuals who have in frequent that they have been born with the sound of the ocean of their ears, however in any other case possess distinctive traditions, historical past, language and tradition, that reward guests with slightly curiosity.
The Caribbean tourism business may take this chance to distinguish the islands, and possibly even put accountability on vacationers to transcend the resort partitions or cruise ship all-inclusives and discover native meals and tradition.
Can it occur? As airways and cruise ships scale back capability, and the vacationer business consolidates, the islands must act intentionally, mentioned Mr. Riley. “Are we going to leave it to happenstance or are we going to plan for more socially responsible tourism and put policies in place that redress and undo damage to the environment?” he requested.
The premier of the island of Nevis, Mark Brantley, mentioned the pandemic has taught the Caribbean that overreliance on tourism shouldn’t be the very best mannequin and that Covid-19 may mark the tip of the period of low cost tourism and mega cruises. “Jurisdictions are going to pivot to more tourism pitched at the luxury market, with smaller numbers of people and arguably a better yield,” he mentioned. Additionally, he predicted that native industries, particularly agriculture and agri-processing, will grow to be extra essential sectors of the Caribbean economies. “Countries will be trying to diversify, where tourism continues to be important, but not the only game in town anymore.”
Mr. Chastanet mentioned that when the pandemic struck, St. Lucia was already halfway right into a nationwide program to advertise what he known as “village tourism,” sprucing up hamlets with new infrastructure and coaching and offering seed cash for resort employees and resort cooks to open up their very own small-scale, boutique operations. “The things we were doing just got reinforced by Covid,” he mentioned.
“We really hope if one good thing happens from the pandemic, it will be that travel is more thoughtful, and travelers are more conscious about the environment,” mentioned Mr. Mignott, the previous deputy tourism director for Jamaica. “We don’t think people are just going to go back like Covid never happened. We really think it will be different.”