The challenges facing our recovering economy seem to multiply daily.
The latest such challenge seems to be the categorisation by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States that our country is high risk, and that American citizens should refrain from visiting here.
We find this development disturbing. It has the capacity to undermine our efforts to continue life with such protocols as are deemed by the advising medical professionals to be necessary to contain and control the entry into these shores of visitors who are positive with the virus.
This latest travel advisory seems to be nothing more than a statistical calculation based on the size of the country being assessed and the number of discovered cases.
One wonders if there has been any allowance given for the facts which show that the vast majority of the discovered cases have been imported from outside the island and that their status was revealed after tests conducted by the very well equipped facilities at our Best-Dos Santos Laboratory, funded and certified by the United States authorities to a Level 3 facility, In the absence of this kind of analysis, a highly prejudicial and distorted picture can be propagated over the airwaves and in the print media—much to the damage to our reputation as a tourism spot. Bad news travels quickly and we applaud the efforts of the tourism authorities to get the truth out there in the marketplace.
The regret about this apparently strange piece of information is that it comes on the heels of two positive developments.
Our humanitarian efforts in permitting cruise vessels stranded at sea to homeport here during the high point of the Covid-19 outbreak has enabled us to be named as the Cruise Destination of 2020. Such a designation translates into hard-earned foreign exchange earnings since the publicity will reach all interested in cruise tourism.
The second event which could be regarded as very positive was the news of accelerated uptake of the Welcome Stamp initiative.
The fact that many of the original applicants and, in some cases, American students find it possible to do online learning from their US universities while resident here will act as a buffer against this kind of misleading news. Those who are here will be able to explain that the reality on the island is vastly different from what is being projected by the official statement.
Our concurrent efforts to comply with the European Union’s directive and the blacklisting means that we now have to intensify our battles to secure the island’s niche as a tourist destination, as well as protect our international business centre without delay.
The management of this small open economy is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week enterprise.
We have to earn our way in this world and whether efforts are made by forces beyond this land to stymyie, we have always to be prepared to state and restate our case with clarity and emphasis. No stone must be left unturned in this endeavour.
The authorities have a duty to make sure that every adult in this country is equipped with the information that enables him or her not only to understand what is at stake but to be an advocate for the promotion of our country.
That can be done by the way we treat visitors, by the way we communicate and speak with our foreign friends, and by exuding our natural warmth and welcome. Given the challenge to the industry that we proudly proclaim is our business, everyone can be a self-appointed ambassador for our country.