THE Bahamas’ tourism industry will begin a phased opening on June 15 when boaters, yachters and private pilots will be allowed into the country, the Ministry of Tourism announced yesterday.
#The industry’s much anticipated full opening will take place on July 1.
#Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar made the announcement at a Zoom press conference held by his ministry and the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee.
#“This phased approach will start on June 15, when boaters, yachters and private aviation will be invited to experience The Bahamas destination,” Mr D’Aguilar said. “Tourism will begin with these smaller, special interest groups as they provide a more controlled segment to test its measure. These groups will have to pre-register electronically, allowing health officials to determine their risk level.”
#He added that during this phase, commercial airlines will be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners or their immediate family members. All returning residents will have to obtain a monocular swab PCR COVID-19 test with a negative result. On Monday, Mr D’Aguilar told The Tribune officials are still considering whether the government will require tourists to produce a negative PCR test result to gain entry into the country but have ruled out visitors being forced into quarantine.
#It is anticipated that during this first phase, there will be a reduced number of flights and airlines will begin adding The Bahamas to their schedules once again.
#Additionally, he said yesterday, hotels will begin reopening to allow staff to begin to work, putting in place all the measures required to ensure they are ready for the full opening on July 1.
#“Readying The Bahamas for tourism in a post-COVID world is quite challenging with many nuances and considerations to plan for,” said Mr D’Aguilar.
#“The Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee was established to develop a collaborative plan for reopening and to provide health and safety protocols to be followed consistently across the country. Because of the detailed plan that is being put forth, I am confident that tourism is prepared to officially open its borders, hotels and transportation sector successfully to international commercial travel on July 1, 2020.”