Central America and the Dominican Republic have worked continuously since March 2020 to address the impact of COVID-19 in the region. The Presidents of each of the States jointly approved a Regional Contingency Plan with the purpose of complementing national efforts for the prevention, containment, and treatment of the pandemic.
The corresponding National Authorities have taken a series of measures to counter the spread of the virus, as well as the economic and social impact. Some provisions regarding the flow of goods and passengers in the region are available here. The updated details of the health measures and cases registered in real time can be consulted through the SICA-COVID19 Regional Observatory.
Quarantine and social isolation have meant sharp falls in activities such as aviation, tourism, trade and free zones for the world. In the region, it is expected that there will be a significant contraction in economic growth, with implications even for the year 2021. Estimates of the economic impact of COVID-19 in Central America and the Dominican Republic presented by the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) are available here.
Given this scenario, the tourism sector in the region is preparing with biosafety protocols from a focus of sustainability, health, and responsibility to restart operations during the second half of 2020. Likewise, the supply chain that feeds tourism is working rapidly to prepare for the reopening of the economies.
The land transportation sector is one of the most important in the tourism value chain in the region, since the intraregional market constitutes the second most important market for Central American countries. Transportation contributes to the regional dynamism and competitiveness. In the context of the pandemic, the countries approved the Biosafety Guidelines before COVID-19, applicable to the Central American land transportation sector to guarantee the flow of goods.
According to data presented by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), prior to COVID-19, air travel in the region contributed $27 billion, generating 1.28 million jobs. Along this line, restoring area connectivity is crucial to establish international trade flows, supply chains, investment, tourism, and job creation. That is why the Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA) has launched the Regional Biosafety Protocols for the gradual and harmonized reactivation of Air Transportation based on the Concept of Public Health Corridor.
Port activity in Central America has hardly been altered by COVID-19. Despite the crisis, services and hours have not been restricted at 28 terminals in the region, according to a report on the virus in port operations in Central America and the Dominican Republic, published in May by the Central American Commission for Maritime Transportation (COCATRAM). Learn about the preventive actions in the ports/terminals as well as the provisions to guarantee the flow of the supply chain.
For its part, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has made available loans to finance the needs of working capital and investment to MSMEs for up to US$350 million dollars through its network of financial institutions in the countries.
The fund is intended for MSMEs in the production sectors of the agri-food chain, renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner production, hospitality and tourism, construction, creative industry, media, commerce, and service provision companies. To learn more about the Emergency Support and Preparedness Program for COVID-19 and Economic Reactivation, enter here.