The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association reports the covid-19 pandemic continues to take a massive toll on the sector with revenues having declined by 96 percent, air traffic into the island at 5 percent of what it should be and only 15 hotels currently open.

Chief Executive Officer of the BHTA Senator Rudy Grant says talks commence tomorrow with the Barbados Workers Union on the implications for those who’ve been employed in the sector and who would be due a total of 300 million dollars in severance if permanently laid off.

Senator Grant highlighted how hard the local tourism sector has been hit by the pandemic.

Meantime, BHTA Chairman Geoffrey Roach noted that currently, just over 50 hotels are open and at significantly reduced numbers.

Another 40 hotels are looking to open between now and the end of December but that depends on the trends with COVID-19 cases in the overseas markets.

He says the challenge for Barbados is balancing economic and health considerations but, since there is currently no evidence of community spread, this allows them to continue to reopen the sector.

But the BHTA is calling for it to be made mandatory that everyone looking to travel to Barbados have a covid-19 test before board a flight.

He disclosed that cruise ships will not be sailing before the end of September but there are still no confirmed bookings for cruises to Barbados given the uncertainty of the covid situation…so local attractions will remain largely closed as they depend almost exclusively on business from the cruise sector.