As Covid-19 cases on the island continue to rise amidst a low vaccination uptake, Chief Executive Officer of the SVG Tourism Authority Glen Beache, outlined to SVGTV News what this reality could mean for the immediate future of the island’s tourism industry specifically the return of cruise ships and airlines.
Beache highlighted the effects of the widespread vaccine hesitancy on tourism stakeholders, noting that the responsibility for the blow to the industry will have to be shouldered by the Vincentian public.
The CEO of the Tourism Authority said while St.Vincent and the Grenadines have not had to lay off as many workers when compared to its Caribbean neighbours, the situation can change, especially if the island cannot begin to see an increase in revenue. Beache said that making vaccination mandatory for some persons in the industry may have to happen.
Both Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday have banded together to encourage their supporters to get vaccinated given the heavily politically divided populace. Beache says the occurrence should show the Vincentian public the seriousness of taking the vaccine. He added that while persons can be skeptical, informed decisions must come from factual information.
To date, just over 16-thousands Vincentians have been vaccinated, a far cry from the 70-thousand the government aimed to vaccinate at the start of the vaccination campaign.