(PRESS RELEASE) – With the economies of the OECS all hard hit and in some cases completely decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Member States are looking toward recovery efforts in all sectors.
Recognizing that the Tourism Industry is the major contributor, with linkages to every other economic activity, the Governments of the OECS have included tourism as a priority in recovery plans and actions. The sector falls within the ‘economic’ cluster of a menu of actions to be taken by Member States in addressing Health, Economic, Social and Security issues which have arisen as a result of COVID-19.
The OECS Authority on April 18th appointed Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet to head a Committee to strategically plan the reopening mechanism for the tourism sector for the region. Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister was appointed in light of the ideas and initiatives he has already put forward and given the experience of the Prime Minister with the Tourism Sector and challenges the industry has faced in the past.
Prime Minister Chastanet has explained that chief amidst concerns about the reopening of the Tourism sector is maintaining public health and safety.
“As more of our states learn how to manage this COVID-19 pandemic, and we reconfigure our economies, and continue to diversify, we also recognize that tourism underwrites most of our economies and any attempt to reopen must a coordinated one. The issue of reopening is still a very sensitive one and our populations need to know that we have a plan that protects all of us,” said Prime Minister Chastanet. “I am a strong advocate of a regional approach. Some experts are predicting that we will see some recovery in the sector during the summer months. Due to the level of interaction involved in this sector, we must ensure we put people first. What we do know is of tourism’s proven resilience and we must have a unified plan to address this together as a region.”
The Committee headed by Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister will meet on Thursday and will include representatives from other countries named by their Heads of Government and they will be charged with the responsibility of arriving at a unified solution and agreeing on timelines.