An aerial view of the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands plans multi-phased reopening of tourism sector

An aerial view of the Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands, in an attempt to restart tourist activities, recently announced plans to welcome visitors to its shore through a newly crafted multi-phased reopening plan.

The country, which had closed its border to international travellers at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic last year, is now moving to welcome tourists back to its islands — as Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman.

“Since March 2020, the Cayman Islands has been deliberate in all efforts to protect our people and visitors; from rapid and widespread testing, investing in the Caymanian workforce and implementing a phased strategy to safely reopen our shores to luxury-seeking visitors, the health and safety of our community was paramount in all decisions,” said Kenneth Bryan, Cayman’s tourism minister.

Cayman Islands’ Minister of Health Kenneth Bryan (Photo: Cayman News Service)

Through the new five-phase approach developed by government, health officials and the private sector, the country is seeking to continue in safeguarding its local population as it gradually and carefully reopens the border to “allow international visitors to enjoy the sun, sand, sea and safety of the island once again.”

During the first phase or “reduced quarantine period’, which began last month, fully vaccinated travellers are subjected to a mandatory five-day quarantine while those unvaccinated will have to undergo a 14-day isolation period. In the second phase or “reduced reparations restrictions” set to take effect come August 9, additional travel restrictions will be eased, including the removal of GPS monitoring.Travellers must, however, continue to apply for entry authorisation via the Travel Cayman Portal.

By September 9, the third or “limited introduction of tourism” phase is to begin, allowing for a partial introduction of tourists with secure verification of vaccination status. The return of cruise ships are, however, not permitted during this phase whose success is also subjected to an 80 per cent vaccination rate in the country.

The Carnival Corp’s Miracle and Panorama cruise ships sit anchored at the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Monday, April 13, 2020. The Cayman Islands Government will allow the entry of cruise ships once the British Overseas Territory has reached 80 per cent vaccination.(Photo: Tim Rue/Bloomberg

By the fourth phase, which is to take effect in October, quarantine restrictions are to be removed for all fully vaccinated travellers while unvaccinated visitors will be required to apply for entry via Travel Cayman and quarantine upon arrival for a 14-day period. During the fifth and final phase to begin in October, the country said it will begin to allow travel for unvaccinated children (under 12 years) accompanied by vaccinated adults.

Following the successful implementation of all five phases, which is to be actively monitored by public health officials, the country said it could by January 2022 move towards “a grand reopening of the sector welcoming all travellers without quarantine or travel restrictions at which time cruise tourism could also resume.”