Aruba welcomed more than 11,000 international visitors to its shores since the island paradise reopened its borders last month.
“As one of the most tourism dependent countries in the world, the impact of COVID has been a massive challenge,” CEO of the Aruba Tourism Authority, Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes told Travel Pulse in a Q+A this week. “Beach destinations rank high on travelers’ wish lists and we’ve seen a strong desire for people to travel to Aruba.”
The Caribbean island first started allowing travelers from the Caribbean (except the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Europe, and Canada to come on July 1, followed by tourists from the U.S. on July 10. And while tourism has begun to ramp up, the island hopes to see a 30 to 40 percent recovery by the end of the year, Asjoe-Croes said.
In order to accommodate tourists wanting to stick their toes in the sand and soak up views of impossibly beautiful turquoise waters, Aruba implemented a cleaning and hygiene certification program — the Health & Happiness Code — for tourism-related businesses focusing on things like plexiglass barriers at desks and disinfecting high-touch areas.
And even though she told Travel Pulse that the island is "thrilled" to be welcoming back U.S. tourists, there are strict testing requirements for entry.
U.S. travelers arriving on the island have to complete a self-health declaration form and show a negative COVID-19 test, while visitors from certain states are required to upload a negative COVID-19 test online taken within 72 hours before their flight. The test has to be uploaded at least 12 hours before departing, according to the Aruba Tourism Authority.
States from which travelers are required to upload a COVID-19 test online include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
“Aruba continues to implement an aggressive testing policy and COVID cases amongst tourists remain extremely low,” Asjoe-Croes said. “Aruba continues to be one of the [countries] least impacted by COVID in the Caribbean.”
Travelers who choose to get tested at the airport will have to quarantine for up to 24 hours while awaiting results (which take an average of six to eight hours to come back). Anyone who tests positive will be placed in isolation until they test negative, she said.
In total, Aruba has reported 717 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But if you can’t make it to Aruba just yet, you can satisfy your wanderlust from home with a calming 30-minute video of the sights and sounds of the island or even take a virtual tour of Aruba’s Butterfly Sanctuary.
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