The country of Barbados is welcoming its first scheduled flights this week after adjusting it’s travel advisory and resuming flights to the island on Sunday, June 12th.
We can proudly assume that Barbados is practically COVID free right now and ready to safely welcome visitors back to our shores. However, with that privilege and the ‘new normal’ comes many uncertainties and fears.
As a local Bajan born and raised, here are a few things I believe that you should know if you’re considering a trip to our beautiful shores:
It took a lot of work to get here.
Making it to this point took the collective effort of our entire population of 300,000 people over the past 4 months.
Though we are a small island, we can’t ignore the sacrifices that people made to ensure that we rode through this first ‘wave’ of the pandemic. Our healthcare workers are heroes, and our local healthcare system went into stealth mode to prepare and manage the pandemic.
Our government is very alert and has responded to the pandemic swiftly, applying WHO safety measures quickly and efficiently.
Aunty Mia is a boss. Know her name.
The right Honorable Mia Amor Mottley was sworn in as our first female prime minister in 2018 and she has steered us through some tumultuous times.
We lovingly refer to our Prime Minister as “Aunty Mia”, as she is a great leader; intelligent, humble, approachable, and she keeps a close pulse on what’s happening both locally and internationally.
You will hear her name coming up when you’re in Barbados, as she makes regular updates and appearances on our national radio and TV channels, but she also appears on international news quite often. Think of her as the Caribbean counterpart to Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.
How do local Bajans feel about the reopening? Cautious, but very optimistic!
A majority of Bajans are dependent on tourism in one way or another—from financial institutions to construction, and even manufacturing. Tourism is the leading sector in the Barbados economy, accounting directly for 12% of GDP, and its indirect contribution to GDP is estimated at 40%
Because of that, it’s important that we find a balance between accommodating visitors and keeping our population safe.
While we appreciate and welcome the fact that many people are looking for an escape, a change of scenery, or even a Black safe space, Barbados is our home and we ask that you treat it as you would your own home.
We are an internationally recognized Small Island Developing State (SIDS) (not a third world country, please don’t use that colonial term), and with that comes certain challenges such as limited healthcare resources.
Please don’t play around with testing or relaxed protocols.
Below is more safety and tourism information about Barbados you should look through.
Things change quickly, so regularly check official announcements
I’d like to refer you to the official precautions and safeguards being implemented to protect both locals and visitors while on the island.
Our local tourism board has very clearly outlined what’s expected of all of us.
The specific details are subject to change of course, but these are the resources that you can refer to. I suggest that you get in touch with them directly for the most up to date travel advice if you have specific questions that haven’t been addressed on the website.
Barbados 2.0 is ready for you!
If there was one word I would use to describe Barbados as a travel destination, I would say diverse.
We have options for every kind of traveler and there are a number of really good deals happening right now with Airbnbs, beautiful boutique hotels, and private villas.
There are also so many leisure activities to enjoy including historical tours and dozens of beaches to check out.
As always, I encourage you to support local in every way possible, from locally-owned, family-run hotels to local brands and restaurants.
Barbados is quite special in that locals mingle with tourists in most spaces. Tourism is in our blood, and it’s perfectly safe and acceptable to explore every nook and cranny of this special little island.
Are you planning to book a trip to Barbados anytime soon? Let us know in the comments.
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