Saint Lucia on Thursday welcomed the first international commercial flight since the June 4, 2020 reopening of its borders.
The borders had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
American Airlines flight 2295 from Miami touched down at Hewanorra International Airport about 2:15 p.m. bringing a total of 131 visitors and nationals here.
Officials from Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority and the Ministry of Health greeted passengers.
Various teams assisted with new arrival procedures to ensure a seamless experience navigating the enhanced safety procedures at the airport.
“This is the beginning of the opening of our tourism sector,” Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee announced.
However Fedee observed that by no means was it at full capacity.
“What we are doing is to examine our protocols, we are testing all of the management mechanisms we have put in place to ensure that we can co-exist with COVID,” the Minister explained, adding that Saint Lucia cannot stay closed forever.
He said Saint Lucia wants to strike a strong balance between public health management and rebounding the economy.
As per COVID-19 protocols, upon arrival all visitors passed through a nurses station for screening before advancing to Customs and Immigration.
After picking up their luggage, arriving passengers proceeded to the exterior of the terminal, where COVID-19 certified taxis provided transportation to certified hotels.
All arriving passengers received gift bags with local chocolates, Saint Lucia cocoa tea ingredients with a recipe, hand sanitizer, branded flip-flops, water bottles and handy ‘What You Need To Know’ guides.
Saint Lucia also awarded a holiday prize to one ‘lucky passenger’.
The prize included a complimentary airfare for two and accommodations at Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort, redeemable in 2021.
According to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the strategic, phased approach to reopening Saint Lucia’s tourism sector includes comprehensive safety and wellness protocols developed by Government and tourism officials.
A COVID-19 Task Force continuously monitors local and global health updates, assessing protocol options to mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 for visitors and Saint Lucian communities, according to the Authority.
Saint Lucia is scheduled to welcome Delta from Atlanta on Friday and JetBlue from JFK in the coming weeks.