SVGTA to give fully vaccinated taxi drivers an ID card
Glen Beache
April 14, 2022

SVGTA to give fully vaccinated taxi drivers an ID card

Taxi drivers, operators, and tour guides who are fully vaccinated will be provided with an Identification card from the Tourism Authority that shows that they are vaccinated. 

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority(SVGTA), Glen Beache, informed of this new initiative at a press conference on April 6. 

Beache reminded that the SVGTA handles the standards for taxi drivers and tour guides, meaning that these operators must be tourism approved. 

“Now obviously the pandemic has changed a lot of things we do, how we do it, how we go about it. Vaccination has been very important, not only in St Vincent and the Grenadines but world-wide.” he stated.

Beache further pointed out that safety of visitors to one’s country does not revolve only around levels of crime but now the issue of vaccination is also of importance.

As they already are responsible with issuing identification for the tourism approved taxi drivers and tour guides, he said that when the pandemic hit, “we said why not – and especially after the vaccinations came out – why not look at something that also showed the vaccination of our taxi drivers, our tour guides, tour operators, to make sure that, if anything, if passengers wanted to check to make sure that their drivers, their tour guides are vaccinated there was a way for it to do it.”

Consequently, “what we have done, instead of just doing the ID card, it has become an ID card and vaccination card for our taxi drivers, tour guides, tour operators.”

On this card there will be a photo of the holder, the date of the first and second doses of the vaccine, the batch number and the date it was taken. 

The back of the card has a QR code that leads persons to a verification page which displays all of this information and more, including concerning booster shots. 

Beache clarified that it will not be simply a matter of the operators and guides showing the SVGTA their vaccination card but the process will be done in conjunction with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 task force to verify that those persons are vaccinated.

“These cards will be provided to taxi drivers, those who have had their vaccination and are tourism approved. It would also be a way of guests and potential guests, well guests from the cruise ships, guests off the planes to see, make sure that those who are driving them, those who are taking them around, those who are giving them tours, are fully vaccinated,” the CEO said. 

The cards are expected to be given to the tourism approved fully vaccinated taxi operators “sooner rather than later”, and “hopefully” between last week and the end of this week, Beache said during the April 6 press conference.

They are also looking at providing a similar card to the public but at a cost of about $150 to $200, he said. The card for the public will also be different in design. 

“People might say this is expensive, one has to look, we’ve priced it to make sure that we include everything that we have had to source. It’s a special printer, it does unique QR codes…” Beache noted, and that the ink will be more expensive to refill than the actual printer. 

When it comes to the credit card sized card, rather than carrying a piece of paper, the CEO explained it “is especially gonna be useful for those people who travel a lot in terms of verification at airports and other places. We do know that there are certain cities, certain countries that you have to show verification of being vaccinated before you go into a restaurant, go into cinemas…”

“The Tourism Authority, we’re not in this for the money but we do think this initially was done for our stakeholders. We spoke to a few people who said they think it should be provided for anybody who’s travelling or anybody who wants the simplicity of it. Some people might say well $150 to $200 expensive – this is what it costs us to produce the card,” he added. 

Beache also said that the move to give tourism approved taxi operators and tour guides these cards is something the SVGTA will be presenting to cruise lines at the Seatrade Cruise Global to encourage more cruise calls to SVG. Further, “…as we continue to negotiate with different airlines, that this helps us in making sure that they feel good about coming in to St Vincent and the Grenadines, that we’re ahead of the curve on certain things.”