(VI Consortium) Governor Albert Bryan said Monday the U.S. Virgin Islands within 30 days will start verifying people vaccinated in the U.S. for travel to the territory through the USVI Travel Portal, another change in stance following previous comments to the contrary. Mr. Bryan said his latest decision was in response to increasing regional competition as Caribbean islands start accepting U.S. vaccination cards, and following the U.S. government’s move to start accepting foreign nationals into the country who can prove they are vaccinated while providing a negative Covid-19 test result.
Currently, only people vaccinated in the U.S. Virgin Islands can use the travel portal’s vaccination verification system. All other individuals must upload an acceptable Covid-19 test result and wait to be verified by the system, which is in part manned by humans. Vaccinated Virgin Islanders can simply upload their information and await verification.
“The whole Caribbean is starting to accept U.S. vaccination cards now. And now that the U.S. is easing restrictions coming from foreign places, it’s just amping up the competition for us,” Mr. Bryan told the Consortium following a query on the matter during his Monday press briefing. The governor said he was talking to a charter boat broker from Antigua who said “they are already doing 80-90 percent so they are seeing a lot of travel come in as well as U.S. travel.” To that end, Mr. Bryan stated, “So we got to kick it up a notch to make sure that we can maintain a level of tourism, especially with the closure of [Limetree Bay]… we got some other challenges going on.”