Editor’s note: The following are updates from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Belize

The Belize Tourism Board announced Wednesday tit has won the 2020 TripSavvy Editors’ Choice Award for Industry Leaders. TripSavvy is one of world’s Top 10 travel information sites, reaching over 2 million travelers.

According to statement released by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, over 50 editors and writers worldwide annually comb through a year’s worth of ratings, reviews, and data to identify the best-of-the-best in travel around the world. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, judging based on three months of business as usual for 2020 did not allow for the usual methodology to be followed.

They focused on businesses and industries that overwhelmingly met the moment: meaningful solutions with the end goals of staying afloat, protecting their people, and making a difference during a year that’s been challenging for so many reasons.

The statement noted that “based on Belize’s robust measures and protocols in response to COVID-19 and the resulting editorial coverage Belize proved worthy and ultimately captured the nod of the judges.”

St. Lucia

The first winter season 2020 TUI Airways flight landed Tuesday on St. Lucia, according to a statement from the island’s tourism board.

It marked the return of TUI’s winter weekly direct flights from London Gatwick to Hewanorra International Airport will run through to March 2021.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that the travel company has flown to the island showing its commitment and confidence in the tourism authorities and people of Saint Lucia,” the statement noted. “By continuing to manage COVID-19 protocols, Saint Lucia has been included in TUI’s long-haul programme for 2020-21 as one of only three Caribbean destinations featured.

The statement noted that as St. Lucia continues its phased responsible reopening, 182 passengers and crewmembers from the U.K. on the TUI flight were welcomed shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday “with a full complement of safety protocols in place including the wearing of masks, screening at a Nurses Station, verification of travel documents and sanitizing of hands and luggage.”

“We want to thank our people again for their continued commitment to maintaining our COVID-19 protocols. It’s not an easy task but it’s necessary and is one of the reasons why major travel brands such as TUI support Saint Lucia year after year, even in these most challenging times,” Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee said in the prepared statement. He added that the “international visitors have now come to understand the importance of our health measures and checks when they visit us.”

“We know that they choose Saint Lucia because they feel safe and of course they are going to have a great time.” Fedee said.

St. Lucia hotels in the TUI programme include The Royalton, Hideaway at Royalton, Mystique by Royalton, Rendezvous; Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Beach Resor, Harbor Club, Bel Jou, Sugar Beach, Starfish, and The BodyHoliday.

A second weekly flight begins from Nov. 5 from Manchester in the U.K. Travelers to the island are encouraged to ensure that all travel documents are on hand when at the nurses’ station, immigration, and customs in an effort to expedite screening processes.

Trinidad and Tobago

The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited is celebrating the island’s latest achievement of obtaining UNESCO Man and the Biosphere designation, and welcomes the opportunity to leverage this milestone to develop and promote the island’s tourism product, according to statement from the CTO.

The program aims to improve livelihoods in local communities, while safeguarding ecosystems. It promotes innovative approaches to the sustainable development of green and blue economies across the globe, and the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

“The Man and the Biosphere achievement is a welcome catalyst to spur growth in Tobago’s sustainable tourism development, which is a core focus of the Tobago Tourism Agency,” Louis Lewis, the agency’s chief executive officer said in a prepared statement.

He added that the international designation strategically aligns with the agency’s existing environmental programs which have been instituted in partnership with accredited global bodies. Earlier this month, TTAL acquired Blue Flag pilot status for three of Tobago’s beautiful beaches, and a week prior to that the agency was featured on Green Key International’s website for their efforts to raise the standard and quality of sustainable products in Tobago.

Narendra Ramgulam, the agency’s director of Product Development and Destination Management praised the award in light of the ongoing pandemic.

“This news comes at an ideal time for Tobago, as it presents a beneficial tool for economic recovery in a post-COVID era. Trends indicate that travellers will especially now be seeking out safe and clean destinations,” he said, adding the island welcomes the opportunity to further enhance its appeal as an environmentally conscious destination.”