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Tourism Monitors Ebola Concerns

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) says it is in contact with health officials over Ebola concerns, acknowledging the potential impact the virus could have on the industry.

BHTA president Stuart Bowe told Tribune Business: “The BHTA recognises the importance of having a National Preparedness and Response plan to mitigate any potential threat of Ebola. Furthermore, we acknowledge that Ebola has captured the attention of travellers worldwide, and are aware of the potential implications as it relates to our tourism industry.”

He added: “We are in communication with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health, and will disseminate any pertinent information necessary to assist with educational and preparedness efforts.”

Countries such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia have all announced immediate travel bans on anyone who would have come from, or through, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where nearly 4,500 people have died from Ebola.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said the Bahamas has decided to keep its borders open for tourism, and he is ‘confident’ that, from a policy point of view, the Government has taken the necessary steps to mitigate undesirable results.

The Government has assembled a Task Force to ensure the Bahamas is prepared in the event of Ebola cases entering the country. The Government’s Ebola task force consists of national aecurity officials, including the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Defence Force, Customs and Immigration officers, Ministry of Health officials and the Nassau Airport Development Company, among others.

The Ministry Of Health has composed a 51-page Ebola Preparedness and Response Plan.

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