Have rethink on travel rules, please – Bahamas Tribune

Posted: September 10, 2021 at 5:27 am

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Our family own travel agencies in northern New Jersey and have had a long association with The Bahamas, including being part time residents.

We always had strong bookings for your country to both Nassau and the Out Islands. However COVID-19 changed everything. There are now two worlds for travel to The Bahamas. There is a fantasy world propagated by your Tourism Minister and a real world where it is difficult to get clients to travel to you. According to your Minister tourism is rebounding strongly, massive bookings are forthcoming and cruises will return to record numbers soon.

Unfortunately these rosy predictions are not what we are seeing in our agencies. The introduction of the Health Visa has killed off most interest when nearly all other resort destinations are far easier to enter without all the red tape and expense of the Visa. After eighteen months of restrictions people are unwilling to go through all the red tape you require just to come for a holiday. We understand that the Visa has just become a money making operation for the Government and those associated with the payment system. The Bahamian Tourist officials always declare they work with travel partners. There was no evidence of any consultation before your harsh entry rules were introduced which actually punish visitors with all the roadblocks.

Your Minister says the Visa must stay because he does not trust airline agents at check in to properly verify double vaccination certificates. There are no problems with these certificates at any of our local airports.

As to his predictions of massive cruise numbers returning very few of our clients want to go on any cruise anytime soon. They fear for their health in such close surroundings. As of today we have very few bookings for cruises and sadly no bookings for The Bahamas through to spring. It has gone from our most popular destination to the lowest in interest.

Your Tourism Minister has to leave the fantasy world and face the real world where your chief economic activity is being severely damaged by policies which are deterring rather than encouraging your all important tourist numbers. The Health Visa has to go and you must return to previous entry rules immediately.

JOHN LANCASTER

Princeton, New Jersey,

USA

September 6, 2021.

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Have rethink on travel rules, please - Bahamas Tribune

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