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Tourism Recovery 'Could Take As Long As Five Years'

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM officials are unsure when the sector will likely recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, with Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar noting some experts believe it could take as long as five years.

“Twelve, 18, 24 months, a number of people are saying it could take as long as five years to get back to pre-COVID levels but I remain optimistic,” he said yesterday. “I’m still going to stay with my 18 to 24 months (projection) and we’ll see where the cookie crumbles. Obviously it’s a guess at this stage. Things might change markedly when a vaccine is rolled out so we’ll have to see how events unfold in the upcoming months.”

Mr D’Aguilar referenced the significant decline in visitor arrivals the country has had during the first six months of the year, saying it has gone “from a record 3.9 million arrivals in 2019 to 1.7 million in 2020.”

“This 56 percent reduction in our tourism business could not be avoided, owing to the shutdown of both the cruise and airline industries in late March alongside a recent resurgence of COVID-19 in many of our key markets,” he added.

As tourism officials gear up for reopening the sector, Mr D’Aguilar said he is awaiting word on when mega-resorts Atlantis and Baha Mar will reopen.

“I have been in a number of discussions with the CEOs of Atlantis and Baha Mar to ascertain what their current thinking is about reopening and I am hoping they will make some announcements, very soon, with concrete opening dates. Naturally, given the enormous amount of resources required to relaunch properties of their respective sizes, they want to be assured of an economically sustainable customer base when they reopen. As such, they are assessing a myriad of issues, mostly relating to the state of the pandemic in their core market, the United States, before they commit to an opening announcement,” he said.

As for the cruise sector, Mr D’Aguilar said there is “no good news to report”.

“I have been in discussions with all of the major cruise lines and none of them have received any indication from the (US) Centres for Disease Control (CDC) when their no-sail orders will be lifted. Right now, all of the cruise companies have voluntarily agreed that they will not be sailing until October 31, 2020 but sadly, it seems very likely that cruising out of the United States will not recommence until possibly late November or early December,” he said.

Comments

ISpeakFacts 2 weeks, 6 days ago

So what is the plan moving forward? Oh right, there is none because the only thing these idiots know is TOURISM TOURISM TOURISM!!!

When is this country going to stop relying on THIS single industry, it's clear as day that the Chinese Virus has turned the remnants of brain matter in the heads of these incompetent buffoons into mush, because these S.O.Bs haven't learned a DAMN thing!!!

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Weezie 2 weeks, 6 days ago

So, if not Tourism, then what? I hear everyone bashing Tourism, let us diversify out of Tourism, but then they are no suggestions on what is going to replace Tourism.

Remember Tourism is the single largest employer in the world....and in The Bahamas. I hear, Tourism employs 2 out every 3 Bahamians and is the largest source.....by far.....of our foreign exchange, investment and tax receipts. No other industry comes even close to Tourism.

So, what are you going to replace it with in the short and medium term?

You call these idiots.....incompetent buffoons whose brain matter has turned into mush. I am waiting for your revelation so that I don't think the same about you.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 6 days ago

the only thing that could replace tourism in the short-term is tech. If an idea is good enough it has the ability to attract a global audience overnight. If it's good enough.

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joeblow 2 weeks, 6 days ago

I suspect his plan did not factor in the possibility of devastating hurricanes within the next 5 years!

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rodentos 2 weeks, 6 days ago

with climate change there will be a cat5 in the Bahamas every 2-3 years. You can't repair it that fast. Damage will pile up throwing Bahamas back to 5th world country status (no roads, no power, no water)

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