Step by step, day by day, travel becomes more difficult for the unvaccinated.
Today, Elite Island Resorts, an all-inclusive hotel group with nine hotels in the Caribbean and Central America, announced that it will require all its guests 12 years and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new rule takes effect Sept. 1 at its properties in Antigua, St. Louis. Lucia, the Grenadines, Barbados and Panama.
After weighing all the choices, questions and concerns, mandate vaccines were the wisest way to protect the critical tourism industry at these beloved destinations, which are so crucial to the survival of so many employees and the only way we will be able to preserve travel and tourism are booming during the fall and winter, ”said Elite Island Resort founder and CEO Robert A. Barrett.
Governments and destinations have for some time pondered the idea of vaccine mandates; and as they do, we are beginning to see individual companies and hotels move forward with such policies on their own, as the Delta variant threatens to affect not only travel, but everyday life in the future.
However, decisions by hotel groups certainly take a greater impact as they involve more properties and can set the tone for other management teams to follow.
Barrett said the decision came from a desire to protect and respect the local people and not to overwhelm their infrastructure.
“Current science tells us that if you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get seriously ill or end up taking a hospital bed in a fragile medical environment like the Caribbean, where local resources can not afford to be overloaded,” he said . “It is imperative for us to protect the hospitals of these smaller island nations.”
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It is clear that the decision to carry out a vaccination mandate may not suit some people, especially those who have not been vaccinated. Barrett acknowledged the potential setback in the decision to ban unvaccinated travelers, but suggested that the good would outweigh the bad in the long run.
“While we understand that news of our vaccination mandate can be disappointing for select travelers, it will be uplifting and encouraging for others,” he said. “Travel produces tolerance, and with this decision we do not seek to divide, because as hotel owners we bring cultures and people together. But in today’s world, we must consider so many more variables to do so, while respecting the integrity of these beautiful islands and the people who work in them. ”
Elite Island Resorts represents five resorts in Antigua (Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Hammock Cove, St. James’s Club & Villas, Pineapple Beach Club and The Verandah Resort); St. James’s Club Morgan Bay in St. Lucia; The Barbados Club of Barbados; Palm Island in the Grenadines; and Los Establos Boutique Inn in Panama.