By Lina Saigol
The paradise away from the pandemic that many are dreaming about could be about to turn into the real deal.
The Barbados government is considering giving people the chance to relocate to the tropical island’s sparkling beaches and work from there remotely for up to a year.
The “Barbados Welcome Stamp,” is the brainchild of the island’s Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who came up with the scheme after saying short-term travel and the requirements for testing have become more difficult during the pandemic, according to a report on the Barbados government information website.
The move comes as Caribbean tourism has been decimated by the pandemic. The industry accounts for 40% of Barbados’ gross domestic product with 30% of its workforce directly employed by it, according to Travel Market Report.
Credit ratings agency S&P Global Ratings expects that tourism in the Caribbean will probably decline by 60-70% from April to December, compared with last year.
“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the U.S. or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back,” Mottley said in a statement.
“But in order for those things to truly resonate, what does it mean? It means that what we offer has to be world-class and what we continue to offer is world-class,” she added.
Commercial flights are due to resume to Barbados on July 12. Air Canada /zigman2/quotes/208264916/delayed CA:AC +0.37% will be the first international carrier with regular flights to the main airport of Grantley Adams International Airport, followed by British Airways, which is owned by IAG /zigman2/quotes/208070069/delayed UK:IAG -0.11% . American Airlines /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL +0.89% and JetBlue /zigman2/quotes/207639051/composite JBLU -0.03% are expected to resume their services later in the summer.
All incoming visitors to the island will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test and undergo a health assessment , which may include a temperature check and a brief interview by Port Health personnel. Masks must also be worn at the airport.
Tests for COVID will be available at the airport free of charge, or for a fee of $150.00 at designated satellite hotel sites.