Everywhere there is news now about reopening. One country after another is announcing its reopening and is ready to get back to business. In the US there is talk of reopening. Meanwhile, Europe is announcing its intention to reopen all borders within the EU in June.
On the other hand, many hotel industry giants such as Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are creating protocols to tackle the new reality. There will be widely different approaches between each hotel chain. The “correct” approach will manifest itself within the next few weeks.
Airlines are also eying restarting operations sooner rather than later. The industry has launched many ideas as to how to move forward. The key is to ensure the safety and health of its staff and passengers.
Some cruise ship lines are already announcing restarting dates for their sailing. To mention one Carnival Cruise Lines said they are restarting in August and according to Carnival, the tickets are selling fast.
The plans of Aruba tourism officials are currently still unknown as of writing. However, the minister of tourism has said that they are working on plans and should announce them soon.
US carriers of the likes of American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, and Panamanian flag-carrier Copa Airlines have all inquired. Airlines need time to update their booking platforms as well as to promote the flights.
Locally, ATA (Aruba tourism office) is working with the hotel organization and other tour operators on protocols regarding the new situation. Reportedly, locally they have plans to adhere to many recommendations issued by international organizations such as the WHO, PAHO, RIVM, and CDC.
Aruba is a Coronavirus-free territory and it in everyone’s best interest that this island remains this way. Not the least the health care community.
Some suggest to immediately reopen the three southern Caribbean islands. Our three neighboring islands, so-called ABC-islands, are all virtually Coronavirus-free.
This would also have small scale tourism implications among the island and this could serve as a “trial run” before allowing others to start coming back.
In the meantime, I already have some drafts of protocols made by some local tourism actors. It is still work in progress but it looks promising.
Additionally, I’m watching constantly the Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) for any and all changes aviation officials should mandate to airlines.
Why So Eager
Some may ask why are airlines are so eager to come back to Aruba? Right now airlines are eager to fly anywhere where there is demand.
However, airlines now taking a harder look at the fundamentals. Particularly, they are looking to destinations where the load factor is strong historically, where the weather is no factor and is Coronavirus-free.
Additionally, Aruba receives the workhorses of aviation, namely the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families. Logistically for airlines, everything is in order. Spare parts and mechanical expertise are available locally or at a moment’s notice.
Lastly, the local presence of U.S. Customs and Border Protection or CBP Preclearance is also beneficial for travel to the US.
In case you don’t know this means, once you clear the CBP Preclearance in Aruba, your flight will arrive at a domestic terminal once back in the US.