La Soufrière eruption puts a spoke in Barbados’ phased re-opening plan

Home*Cover Story*Regional News

La Soufrière eruption puts a spoke in Barbados’ phased re-opening plan

Barbados’ plan for a phased re-opening of their tourism sector by next month could be facing yet another challenge, this time from the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Minister of Tourism, Senator Lisa Cummins, who acknowledged that with little known regarding how long the volcano would continue to spew ash into the atmosphere causing closure of Barbadian airspace due to reduced visibility, the development could place a spanner in the works as it relates to the country’s ambitions to open up to vaccinated travellers.

Speaking during a virtual press conference at Illaro Court, Cummins said that like what has been done during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the country must once again dig deep into its resources of adaptability and resilience to mitigate this latest threat to the sector.

Cummins said “A few weeks ago, we were dealing with COVID-19 alone and we were dealing with lockdowns and whether there were flights coming in. Now we are dealing with a totally different scenario which is a combination of COVID-19 and volcanic ash affecting our airspace. If there is one thing that we are clear about is that we don’t have any promises or guarantees about what tomorrow would hold. What we have to do is plan and mitigate for all of the risk that we are being presented and adjust as quickly as we can. So let’s hope that come May 8 we are in a position to see a clearing of the skies and in a position where the infection rate is under control in our source markets.”