Between February 1st and May 15th 2007, 10 Caribbean nations will join together in an unprecedented effort to simplify travel restrictions. Inspired by the hosting of the Cricket World Cup – the third largest sporting event in the world – these Caribbean nations will allow visitors to travel between the islands without the hassle of international customs or visas. Furthermore, all 10 nations participating in the Cricket World Cup are located relatively close together, allowing travelers to easily visit several unique destinations in one vacation. Though the Cricket World Cup is scheduled to run from March 5 to April 28, the additional six weeks of hassle-free travel have been allotted to lure additional tourists to the Caribbean. Therefore, you could even take advantage of this travel agreement in early May – after the Cricket World Cup is completed – and hop between islands for a two-week vacation.
Here is a list of the Caribbean nations you will be able to visit without the normal hassles of international travel:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and The Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Once you arrive at one of the island nations listed above and clear customs, you will then be able to travel to the other nations without any immigration procedures. For those accustomed to traveling between states in the U.S., this may not seem significant. However, considering the stringent travel guidelines put in place at the beginning of year, this agreement is truly a unique opportunity. Another great aspect of this agreement is that most visitors won’t need to acquire visas for their travel. Residents of the following nations will be allowed to visit any of the 10 countries involved in the Cricket World Cup agreement without a visa:
- United States and Dependent Territories
- United Kingdom and Dependent Territories
- France and Dependant Territories
- The Netherlands and Dependant Territories
- South Africa
- CARICOM Member Nations (except Haiti)
It is estimated that nearly 95% of the current visitors to these Caribbean nations will be able to travel without visas during this travel window. Even the nations that require a visa for travel will find the process greatly simplified. Prior to the announcement of this travel assistance program, Caribbean nations banded together for several political and economic reasons. CARICOM, short for “Caribbean Community,” is composed of 15 Caribbean nations devoted to increasing tourism opportunities and activities. Beyond the development of long-term tourism assistance programs, CARICOM will also streamline the visa process during the Cricket World Cup for all visitors from nations not listed above. The visa program will include a special website for applications, a 24-hour hotline for visa assistance, three-day turnarounds for visa requests, waiving of visa fees for children 12 and under and additional preparation for visitor emergencies. As helpful as the CARICOM programs are today for travelers looking to secure a visa, this group of Caribbean nations will only make life easier for all tourists in the years to come.
Most importantly, you don’t need to visit or participate in the Cricket World Cup to take advantage of this travel opportunity. Besides the high-profile cricket matches, the Cricket World Cup will also bring plenty of events to the islands. Though these Caribbean islands are always centers of activity, the Cricket World Cup is certain to draw even more festivals, live music and fine art events.
Whether you are a cricket fan or not, there has never been a better time to visit the Caribbean. Book a flight and get ready to experience these unique and exotic islands for yourself.