The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is joining the region in seeking to quiet fears that the Special Caricom Visa will have severe consequences on the region’s tourism industry. The CTO, in a statement issued yesterday, revealed that a number of special initiatives are to go in place to facilitate ease of travel from territories where travellers must have the Caricom Visa to enter the single domestic space that was created as a result of the region’s hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“Because travel and tourism are so important to the economy of the Caribbean, officials will put an extraordinary number of initiatives in place to facilitate the issuance of visas to those visitors that have been affected,” the CTO stated. It pointed to one of those initiatives as a special Web site, www.caricomimpacs.org “for the application of visas including answers to frequently asked questions.” A 24 hour hotline has also been set up to address concerns and a three-day turn-around for requests for visas after receipt of complete applications in a processing centre has been introduced, the CTO explained.The visa has provoked concern among the travel industry, not only in the region, but in markets from where many Caribbean visitors travel. Much of the worry has been coming from travel agencies, whose bookings were not necessarily based on Cricket World Cup travel. But no matter what, their clients will have to get a Caricom visa, based on the territory where they are travelling from to enter the region between 1 Feb., and 15 May.
The 10 nations participating in the single domestic space are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts/Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.
The CTO, however, stated that with the creation of the single domestic space, “There is now question that overall, inconvenience to the travelling public has been minimised as more than 95 per cent of the current visitors to those 10 countries will be able to visit without the need to get a visa.
Those territories whose nationals do not require a Caricom visa are Caricom states, except Haiti, Canada, France and its OCTs (Overseas Countries and Territories), Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and OCTs the UK and its dependent territories and the US and its dependent territories.