Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

Welcome to 2022, whose arrival has been met in the Caribbean with a slew of new entry requirements, protocols and test regulations due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

The last week of 2021 saw thousands of flight cancellations as airline crews fell victim to the virus, disappointing and frustrating hundreds of travelers headed for long-awaited reunions.

So what does 2022 hold in store for the Caribbean traveler and Caribbean tourism?

Although final visitors tallies for 2021 have not yet been tallied, several destinations had reported high demand and arrival numbers prior to the spread of omicron.

Jamaica, for example, was predicting a final total of 1.2 million visitors in 2021 and optimistically forecast 4.1 million, including cruise, by the end of 2022. 

St. Kitts and Nevis, too, had high hopes for this winter season and beyond, based on an increase in island vaccinations and the buildup in hotel occupancies in late 2021.

The Dominican Republic remained on track to receive five million visitors in 2021, despite the omicron surge, according to a Bloomberg news report.

Currently, most travelers to the D.R. are exempt from presenting proof of vaccination and negative Covid-19 tests upon arrival. However, when tourists want to leave their resort, most stores, restaurants and public transportation require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test taken with the last seven days.

Which islands have my attention in the Caribbean?

When Covid-19 and the variants taper off and visitor hesitancy regarding travel begins to wane, my crystal ball predictions for top destination spots in 2022 include Dominica; the charming islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, such as Bequia and Canouan; and the laid-back beautiful Out Islands of the Bahamas.

Dominica's on my list because it remains relatively unknown to most travelers but now has ease of access thanks to American's nonstop from Miami as well as an A-list collection of architecturally-designed nature-inspired resorts.

Same for those Grenadine islands for travelers wanting authentic Caribbean experiences without the crowds and the addition of loads of outdoor activities, boat trips and a slower pace of life.

The Bahamas' Out Islands represent the quintessential Caribbean with funky beach bars, scenes of fishermen casting nets and women weaving baskets in local markets, untrammeled stretches of beach and the opportunity to kick back and disconnect.

My wish for 2022 for the Caribbean is that all the island destinations continue to rebound and move forward even as safety and security remain top priorities. And that the excitement of travel to this beautiful, bountiful region continues to lure travelers to its shores.

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