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More tourism bad news

In good times it was often to see passengers disembarking from Virgin flights into MBIA

The exclusion of Grenada from the Covid-19 Green List announced by the British government will hurt the island’s tourism sector, according to a leading industry official.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, the official said that the Spice Isle will not see any significant amounts of British tourists flying into the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) any time soon as Grenada has been placed on the Amber list.

The Boris Johnson government in London has included only 12 countries on the so-called Green List which provided for quarantine free trade.

The official said that Grenada has done an “outstanding” job in keeping Covid-19 figures relatively low and should have been considered for inclusion in the Green List.

He described the island’s exclusion from the preferential status as “quite embarrassing” for the tourism sector which over the years has been providing the bulk of employment for locals.

“We make it for Amber which means that you have to quarantine both ways. So nobody is going to be booking to come to Grenada. Nobody in their right head will do,” he said.

According to the official, it will be mainly Grenadians who have a reason to come home will take a flight now from the UK into MBIA given the extra quarantine cost for them.

“If you have a family of four will you pay all this money to quarantine and then come back in the UK and have 10 days Quarantine.

The official said he was told privately that the reason why the British government excluded Grenada from the Green list is the low vaccination figures in the country.

“It looks good on paper but the number of people taking the vaccine is not sufficient in terms of percentages,” he added.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Virgin Atlantic has cancelled all flights for June into Grenada.

The official pointed out that even if the British government opens up the system for Grenada and other Caribbean islands it might not make any difference at this stage as the British people have a history of planning their holidays in advance and do not engage in last minute bookings.

“These people have jobs, they have to arrange who will feed the cats and the dogs, to wet the plants. They book months ahead after taking a number of things into consideration,” he said.

Under the new rules announced in London, every country in the world has been sorted into one of three ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’ categories, depending on a range of factors. These include the proportion of a country’s population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection and emerging variants.

Those arriving from destinations on the so-called ‘green list’ will only have to provide a negative test result when they arrive. There will be no requirement to self-isolate – either at home or in a hotel.

Anyone arriving from countries rated ‘amber’ will have to self-isolate for ten days at home, while those coming from ‘red’ countries will still have to quarantine in a government-mandated hotel at a cost of £1,750 per head.

The following countries have been given ‘green list’ status by England:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Singapore

Plus the following overseas territories:

  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Ascension Island, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha

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