Once hot property tourists, Americans are now being cold shouldered

Mount Rushmore USA

As Caribbean beaches and resorts begin welcoming back international tourists, there’s one group that’s increasingly being left out: Americans.

Tropical vacation spots across the region are giving US citizens the cold shoulder amid fears they might spread the coronavirus, cutting Americans off from one of the few regions that was still accessible to them, Bloomberg reports.

This week, the Bahamas will begin barring commercial flights and passenger ships from the US, even as it invites Canadian and European tourists to visit. The Dutch countries of St. Maarten and Curacao have also reopened to almost everyone but US travellers.

With nearly four million cases and more than 140,000 deaths due to Covid-19, the US is at the centre of the pandemic, while the Caribbean has been one of the least affected regions, says Bloomberg. Of the six places in the Americas that don’t have active coronavirus cases, five of them are small islands in the Caribbean, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

With its economy in freefall, and its credit rating cut to junk last month by Moody’s Investors Service, turning away US citizens who represent 80% of its visitors. isn’t a decision the Bahamas took lightly.

“Tourism is our bread and butter,” Joy Jibrilu, director general of the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “It was a very difficult decision and we are feeling it.”

Even so, the country doesn’t have the capacity to deal with a major outbreak, she said, so it had no choice but to shut down mass travel from coronavirus hot spots. US visitors arriving on pleasure craft and charter flights are still welcome.

Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.2 million, officially relaunched its tourism sector on July 15. The following day, amid a local surge in cases, officials asked US mainlanders to stay home.Earlier this week, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalvez said he was considering cancelling flights from the US again after 12 infected travellers arrived, Bloomberg states in its report.