Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- The decision by Statia Government to elevate St. Maarten to a ‘Medium Risk Country’, has a dramatic impact on the tourism sector of the island.
While all hope was vested on the reestablishment of flights out of St. Maarten to get some kind of recovery for the sector, the decision by local Government can be seen as an absolute double whammy for the tourism sector, which has already been impacted hard by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The move by Statia Government nearly immediately prompted Winair to discontinue their flights between Sint Maarten and Statia, effective July 18th. Winair’s flights between Sint Maarten and Statia had just started a few days ago, providing some transportation options between the two islands for the first time since March 2020.
The placement of Sint Maarten on the Medium Risk list means that all travelers out of that island (with very few exceptions) are to self-quarantine for 14 days. This effectively kills the hope of at least a partial revival of tourism out of Sint Maarten.
What is definitely peculiar about the situation, is that every entity in the Kingdom seems to have their ‘own’ independent risk assessment. The Government of Curaçao, for instance, only yesterday published an updated travel list which qualifies Sint Maarten as a ‘Low Risk’ country. Bonaire, which together with Saba and Statia form the so-called ‘special municipalities’ of The Netherlands, just like Curaçao, has no travel restrictions for travelers out of Sint Maarten or Aruba for that matter -in spite of the latter now being open for tourists out of the United States. Saba does allow day trips to Sint Maarten, but no (unconditional) arrival of tourists either.
All in all, there seems to be little or no coordination between the Dutch Caribbean Islands, when it comes to the way countries or islands are ranked based on their perceived ‘risk profile’.