By Ben KilbeyPanic. Mayhem. Despair. It was a moment of disbelief as the U.S. government proposed that U.S. travellers would require valid passports to re-enter the country. Caribbean tourism high rollers are concerned that the implementation of the new law may deter U.S. visitors to the region. The date for activation of the law is set at Dec. 31.As it currently stands only eight of the 35 Caribbean destinations require a U.S. passport for embarkment. It is the timing of the endorsement that is causing most fear across the region as December through April are peak months for travel to the region, with holidaying Americans wanting to escape the northern winter weather.
Speaking to trade rag Travel Weekly, Jorge Pesquera, CEO of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, said, “We are very concerned that the Caribbean is not getting much time to communicate with its customer base.”
It is understood that one-third of U.S. visitors do not carry passports to the popular Caribbean destination.
However, if guidance has been given then Americans without a passport have plenty of time to go out and get the relevant documentation before the Dec. 31 deadline.
There are concerns within bodies such as the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) that numbers of arrivals will be affected. Only time will tell.