BVI News

COMMENTARY: A new world of restricted travel

By Dickson Igwe, Contributor

The global travel and tourism industry will inevitably contract and decline significantly, as the coronavirus pandemic continues its devastating journey through the world economy.

For the Caribbean, a region wholly dependent upon tourism for its economic existence, this will be no easy time.

Social distancing on airplanes; testing and quarantine of travellers upon arrival; the shutdown of the cruise industry; the shutdown of the global leisure industry; the devastation of the hotel and resort industry; the collapse of global airlines; the steep recession in the USA and Western Europe; huge jobless numbers comparable to the depression of the 1930s; the preceding woes are already upon us. Commerce is a social enterprise.

The exchange of products and services requires proximity between individuals in spite of the virtual world of digitization and algorithm. Social exchange is integral to a functioning economy.

When consumers are required to socially isolate; when markets are shut down; when consumers are terrified; with politicians that cannot be trusted giving delusional and unscientific advice; economic matters simply worsen.

How to not manage the pandemic

The USA and UK have been observed as models of how ‘not’ to manage the pandemic socially and economically. The failure to completely lockdown and close borders has allowed a trojan horse of death and destruction, into the UK. Then, Donald Trump’s idea that a robust economy can function side by side with an uncontrolled pandemic is ‘absurd’.

Countries that have managed to control the infection rate of Corona Virus are treading cautiously on reopening their economies. And that includes their travel and tourism industries.

The future of travel may well include a third protocol. Travellers will be asked upon arrival at specific countries to show documentary evidence they are virus free and then further undergo testing, before being allowed entry.

A second passport, a medical document, showing a medical and vaccination narrative is on the cards. Travellers from countries such as the USA, UK and specific European states, where the Pandemic remains uncontrolled, will in addition to the preceding, be required to undergo quarantine and extra testing, before gaining entry into countries that have managed to control their infection rates.

Travel between countries with low infection rates such as Australia and New Zealand will allow travel between themselves subject to the requisite testing and medical protocols.

Travel and tourism

Travel and tourism will only open up after the virus has been eradicated. But that may be towards the end of 2021, depending upon whether a vaccination, cure, or both, are in place.

In the meanwhile, Caribbean countries must learn to adopt resilience and patience until such a time as when the tourism and travel industry begins to recover: no easy task as people go unemployed, facing certain hardship that will last for many months.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

29 Comments

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  1. The expert says:

    The expert of nothing is blabbing his vomit on the pages of BVINews. It must be Saturday. The great fortune teller is once again telling us all of mankind’s demise and how everyone failed but him. If only Igwe were king. What a world we would live in. Someone please sit this old fart bag down, shove a rag in his mouth and leave him to wither in his mindless rants by himself. We are all suffering enough without listening to his garbage. How sad for a news service to have a need to publish this gibberish.

    Like 15
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    • Move it Football Head! says:

      Someone has a crush. Hehehe dont lie show your true feelings for the man you come to see every week.

      Like 16
      Dislike 1
    • Incitement says:

      Moderator, you have read this person’s incitement to commit violence and yet you allowed the comment. I believe this person has commented on several previous articles.

      Cut these types of people off now before they get bold enough to try nonsense here, like what was done to that jogger in Georgia.

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  2. Solution says:

    Return to REAL NORMAL

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
    • Sorros says:

      Solution you’re correct, ‘new normal/regular’ is a complete oxymoron, you gotta be a moron to either spout it out or swallow it… Sanity must prevail – with the REAL REGULAR – BACK TO NORMAL

      Like 21
      • Sadly says:

        SATANITY going on with all them politicians around the world obsessed with the WHO Bill Gates vaccine agenda!

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        Dislike 1
  3. Interesting says:

    The future of travel may well include a third protocol. Travellers will be asked upon arrival at specific countries to show documentary evidence they are virus free and then further undergo testing, before being allowed entry.

    A second passport, a medical document, showing a medical and vaccination narrative is on the cards. Travellers from countries such as the USA, UK and specific European states, where the Pandemic remains uncontrolled, will in addition to the preceding, be required to undergo quarantine and extra testing, before gaining entry into countries that have managed to control their infection rates.

    Travel between countries with low infection rates such as Australia and New Zealand will allow travel between themselves subject to the requisite testing and medical protocols.

    Like 8
    Dislike 8
    • @Interesting says:

      Another freakin expert. Where do you people come up with this garbage. Sit down and STFU.

      Like 7
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      • @The Expert and @interesting says:

        Go clean your minds or human hatred and ignorance. You r self imposed false belief to be the only opinions that are correct and of worth for others, yet they suggrst intellectual juvenilty and freakin mental underveloment.

        Looking forward to 100 thumbs from your community. Please hurry and show what is already known about you/your kkind.

        Like 10
        Dislike 3
      • Lollllll says:

        Gotcha! So plain that people simply can’t wait for Igwe’s commentary to blog first and don’t read, second. What interesting commented on was what Igwe wrote – the 3 paragraphs prior to his last 2.

        Ha ha ha ha

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  4. Medical Passport says:

    The measures described are indeed very possible. And they already exist for Yellow Fever in most countries – if you are arriving from a place which has yellow fever you are very likely to be required to show proof of your vaccine. This is a sensible precaution and does not have to be arduous.

    But with Covid-19, it will represent a massive shift from the norm for regular tourists and may have a big and long-lasting impact. And there is of course no vaccine at present. I agree that end of 2021 is a reasonable (earliest) expectation for some level of normality to the tourism industry to return.

    Let’s hope for two quiet hurricane seasons then. (Obviously this year is not forecast to be that quiet).

    Like 13
  5. Positive news please says:

    Igwe again with negativity.

    This guy only complains, makes negative scenarios and does not contribute in any way.

    IF you just have negative nonsense to say, just shut up.

    Like 8
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  6. Obese people says:

    Obese people have a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

    Igwe is obese. No wonder he wants everybody to stay put.

    Hey Igwe! Watch your diet, start exercising and take your own responsibility for your health!

    Like 19
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  7. M says:

    Dios mio! Leave the man alone! He’s expressing an opinion and y’all meet it with such nastiness. What short-comings and frustrations are you all experiencing to be so horrible? I disagree with his opinion as many times as I agree with it but they’re always informative and further, who send ayo to click and comment if you despise him so?

    Also bvinews.com you have really abrogated your responsibility by allowing hate speech to flourish here. DO BETTER!

    Like 12
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  8. Rubber Duck says:

    Igwe is like the pub bore who pontificates about everything, knows nothing and whom everyone avoids.

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  9. E. Leonard says:

    The VI is a small, resource-poor territory and like the rest of region is geographically remote from major markets, lies in one of the more disaster-prone areas of the world and is highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks.

    Additionally, the impressive Mia Mottley, Barbados PM and Chairwoman of Caricom, in an interview with CNN Christiane Amanpour, stated that Caricom was one the most travel and trade dependent region in the world with over 50% of GDP and direct and indirect employment coming from tourism.

    Nonetheless, the Coronavirus pandemic has brought tourism in the region to a slow crawl if not shut down altogether. Tourism is 1/2 of the VI service-based economic twin pillars; financial services(approx 60% of government revenue came from financial services), other. Consequently, many lives and livelihoods have been adversely impacted, i.e., employment.

    Moreover, the outlook for a quick tourism reboot to pre-Coronavirus level is bleak for several reasons. The US, the lead market for tourists, economy is tanking.

    Over 20,000,000 jobs lost in April; this one month lost is approx 2.5 times the lost of the Great Recession (8,600,000) of 2008/2009 and wiped out the post Great Recession job gains of approx 22,000,000; the total number of jobs lost in the last 7 weeks is approx 33,000,000.

    The current unemployment rate is 14.7% and is projected to approach the Great Depression rate of 24.9% in the coming months. Secondly, in a depressed economy, people have less discretionary income and tend to travel less.

    Thirdly, with the Coronavirus, people have to develop the confidence to travel again. And lastly, American Airlines and other major carriers are planning to ground hundreds of planes and cut seats. Cruise lines, if still operational, will have to rework itineraries.

    Moreover, the VI has to reimagined what life will be like during and post-Coronavirus. It is not going to be life pre-Coronavirus. The old normal is in the rear view mirror and a new normal will emerge.

    This pandemic has exposed some structural economic weaknesses, food insecurity, poor or nonexistent policies, need for more effective strategic and tactical planning…..etc and as such, the VI has to re-engineer a new path forward, i.e., diversifying the economy.

    Like 11
    • Diaspora says:

      Indeed, the VI economy is hitched to the hip of the US economy and the US economy, the world’s #1 economy, is in a huge meltdown, despite $2T plus stimulus injected into it thus far. 33M are unemployed, thousands willing to risk being infected to head back to work, thousands flocking to food banks( despite farmers dumping or leaving millions of pounds of produce to rot in the fields)and unemployment rate soaring to 14.7%.

      What is tiny, dependent VI to do? Well, the VI is in peril with tough economic times and hardships ahead. Anyone that is projecting that the economy will bounce right back as easy as turning on a light switch and voila there is light is overestimating the situation. Times are going to be hard but there will be morning in the VI again. It is going to require VI residents patience, preparation and perseverance. Plan for the worse and hope for the best, an oversized cliche but useful tool.

    • RealPol says:

      @E. Leonard, boy that is some real talk. Agree that some tough times are ahead. And all of us got to plan and prepare for what is going to roll ashore. Save for the few VI residents that lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and WWII most VI residents can only dream of what the likely coming hardship is going to be like. Post monster Hurricanes Irma and Maria may be a precursor.

  10. THINK BEFORE YOU BABBLE says:

    MR IGWE,
    IT IS EASY FOR YOU TO SAY, THE US HAS DONE A BAD JOB. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR FOOD COMES FROM, IF THE STATES HAD BEEN LOCKED DOWN FOR THE LAST FEW MONTRHS THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOT BOATS NO FOOD FOR 2 MONTHS. IT DOEN’ST LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE GONE WITHOUT.
    HOW DO YOU LOCK DOWN A COUNTRY WITH MILLIONS ,WHEN YOU CAN’T LOCK DOWN A SMALL ISLAND WITH A SMALL POPULATION. HOW MANY PEOPLE DISOBEYED LOCKDOWN HERE, WAS IS 135 NOT TO MENTION ALL THE MOTORBIKES THAT WE HERE ALL THE TIME.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
    • RealPol says:

      @E. Leonard, boy that is some real talk. Agree that some tough times are ahead. And all of us got to plan and prepare for what is going to roll ashore. Save for the few VI residents that lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and WWII most VI residents can only dream of what the likely coming hardship is going to be like. Post monster Hurricanes Irma and Maria may be a precursor.

    • Quiet Rebel says:

      Yes, the US did a poor job in managing the pandemic. The Trump Admin didn’t cause the pandemic but it did a poor job in managing it; it call it downplayed it and call it a hoax created by the Democrats and the press. It wasted some 7-8 weeks fiddling while the virus spread from Washington to New York to Michigan to Texas. Quicker action could have contained the disease and avoid the spread across the US. With the rising death, the Trump Admin had to be dragged reluctantly to admit that the crisis was real.

      Instead of the federal government taking the lead on managing this national crisis, it lead from behind and punted the responsibility to 50 individual states to take the lead in managing the crisis. The federal government had some tools in its tool box that it could have and can still use but it fail to use them, ie, Defense Production Act. History will determine if the fail leadership contributed to avoidable loss of life. If so it will be tragic.

      Moreover, there was no national lockdown in the US ; each state decide to lockdown on its own. The borders were never closed and container ships continued to ply the seas. Import ps from the US to VI continued unabated.

      Like 7
      Dislike 2
    • Diaspora says:

      Simply, the Trump Administration is not going to be judged for the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) but for how inept and incompetent it managed the crisis, the greatest health crisis in a century and probably the most destabilizing event since WWII. Prez Trump had the opportunity to provide the customary US leadership and excel in managing this crisis. He failed the leadership test. He failed the US and the rest of world. History will be unkind to him. Historians will have an easy go at writing the history of this pandemic and the failure of the Trump Admin. Hopefully UK’s Boris Johnson will put his road to Damascus moment to good use for the public good.

    • Disinterested says:

      President Donald John Trump fumbled (National Football League (NFL)lingo) the Coronavirus management ball. The question is did the fumble cost lives and fueled an economic recession that is approaching Great Depression (1929-33)-like job losses. The rest of world normally to the US for leadership but now it looks at the US with pity and scorn. Perhaps, it may be time for a substitution, ie, President Barack Hussein Obama, to take the helm to regain some momentum.

      • Eagle and Buffalo says:

        Prez Trump says, “ we have meet the moment and we have prevailed.” Really! The US leads the world in confirmed cases. The Prez down plays the need for testing yet explodes when his personal valet tested positive, accusing his staff of not protecting him. Prez had repeated warnings that Covid-19 was coming but blew it off. That is akin to not preparing for an approaching. Prez viewed Covid-19 as a hoax; a hoax created by the the press and Democrats to bring him down. Prez repeated lies about Covid-19 numbers; told approx 18,000 lies since taking off. Have people died unnecessarily? Facts are facts; there are no alternative facts. The US is leading from behind. Need more?

        [Let’s lead like eagles, not careen off the cliff like buffaloes]

  11. THINK BEFORE YOU BABBLE says:

    MR IGWE,
    IT IS EASY FOR YOU TO SAY, THE US HAS DONE A BAD JOB. WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR FOOD COMES FROM, IF THE STATES HAD BEEN LOCKED DOWN FOR THE LAST FEW MONTHS THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NOT BOATS NO FOOD FOR 2 MONTHS. IT DOEN’ST LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE GONE WITHOUT.
    HOW DO YOU LOCK DOWN A COUNTRY WITH MILLIONS ,WHEN YOU CAN’T LOCK DOWN A SMALL ISLAND WITH A SMALL POPULATION. HOW MANY PEOPLE DISOBEYED LOCKDOWN HERE, WAS IS 135 NOT TO MENTION ALL THE MOTORBIKES THAT WE HERE ALL THE TIME.

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  12. James says:

    Definition of Lockdown Success. No virus but no jobs, no opportunities. Young people leave to go work in other countries. Those who remain here walk to their agrarian jobs in the fields.

  13. Nonsense says:

    There is no success when locking down entire countries because of a virus that most people will survive once contracted and a virus which is expected to be around for quite a while.

    Like 3
    Dislike 6
    • Disinterested says:

      @Nonsense, So you want to take the herd mentality approach. Under the herd mentality approach millions in the population will develop immunity to the disease but millions will die. If the BVI took this approach, hundreds may die. But so what you say if I’m not one of the many that may die. Selfish. Every life is precious and if a little personal sacrifice can save a life, is not it worth it?

      Dan Patrick, Texas Lt. Governor, says, ‘there-are-more-important-things-than-living.’ This is a double down on a previous statement where he said grandparents will be willing to die to protect the economy for their kids. This is promoting a false choice, for both grandparents and the economy can rebound if the pandemic is managed safely and effectively. The Lt. Guv thoughts are warped.

  14. Tongue Fu says:

    I am not sure what is behind the vitriol behind attacking Mr. Igwe but it must be some kind of personal vendetta. I find his articles oftentimes reality based, informational and debate evoking.

    I am not in favor of 24 hour lockdowns as I believe they do far more harm than good. People are not meant to be locked up in their homes for 24/7 as it can be detrimental to their physical and mental health. This in itself can cause chronic illnesses or exacerbate chronic illnesses that can lead to hospitalization. A lot of persons were reporting to the hospital with anxiety issues. You already closed the borders so why the 24 hour lockdown? Close the beaches too? Sea water is good for various chronic conditions and is mentally therapeutic. Instead we should have always have been on a 6a-7p curfew, with social distancing measures in place, aggressive testing and contact tracing. We were too reactionary. Trinidad and Tobago is now on the top of the list of countries ready for reopening why? An aggressive contact tracing, quarantine units, and testing. There was no 24/7 lockdown. Still early but telling.

    By shutting down 24/7 we also lead to further crippling the economy already severely handicapped by the incoming border closure. It’s a on-two knockout punch. I also don’t believe in shutting out your own people especially when there is a quarantine act legally requiring persons to quarantine.

    So a partial opening of the incoming borders to BVIslanders, permanent residents, work permit holders and work permit exemption holders along with a soft curfew. Bars, nightclubs and entertainment centers, large gatherings should not be allowed.

    In life it is all about some balance: Lives first true but livelihoods must be considered as well.

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