EDITOR, The Tribune.
Our family are regular visitors to The Bahamas and have enjoyed coming for several weeks during our cold winter. We always enjoy the warm sunny days and the friendly Bahamians who assist us. Our travel agent said that your country is a prime destination and the booking process was completed quickly. It is an easy motor trip to Toronto airport where we take the regular Air Canada service.
However, everything has changed this year. We regularly follow the news and letters to The Tribune. We agree with the writers from Canada who have expressed their anxiety and distress at all the time consuming requirements for entry.
We were taken aback by some of the rather nasty and unfair comments expressed by Bahamian readers under those letters.
All we want is to come and visit again and we are writing in the hope that the current policies will change to permit us to travel. The officials making these difficult policies are divorced from reality.
It now seems we will need to take three COVID-19 tests within 12 days!
Firstly, a great deal of time must be spent in obtaining a COVID-19 test at a health facility here.
That is difficult as clinics offering such tests for healthy people are few in number and it may require a long journey.
Then after waiting for the result we are to scan the test to Nassau for a Health Visa with no firm idea when that will be sent back. We must be in Nassau within seven days. Then we must take the two further tests at our expense.
The Tourism Minister was suggesting he will force us to purchase your health insurance.
Canadians already purchase such policies before they leave. As a result there are very few flights because people do not have the time or inclination to complete all these requirements.
Where is the common sense? Advertisements for other Caribbean destinations are now regularly shown on the television. All of them are far easier to enter.
As tourism is so important to the economy why is the Bahamas Government not providing and paying for tests when people arrive at the airport?
This would greatly increase tourism and bring in the necessary foreign exchange and stimulus to the economy. Such a policy would be far more successful than the current rules which discourage visitors.
People lead busy lives. They do not want problems when booking a trip. There are far too many other destinations which are hassle free.
There are many Canadians who still want to travel south during the winter and at other times during the year.
If they are not healthy they will not travel anyway.
I fear that The Bahamas will experience a severe economic downturn if those in charge do not have an immediate change to their travel policies.
They have failed to understand the consequences of their actions and all the problems they have created for prospective visitors.
This is especially very upsetting for families such as ourselves who have been coming regularly for many years.
We simply do not want to face the prospect of looking elsewhere for a holiday. Many Canadians own holiday properties in The Bahamas and cannot look elsewhere. We feel very letdown by the current situation.
October 10, 2020.