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Letter: Roadblocks For Visitors To Bahamas

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The Minister of Tourism outlined steps towards reopening the vital tourism sector. However, when reading the remarks, it does not appear to be very welcoming for prospective visitors. I wonder if anyone who is designing the harsh requirements for entry has ever consulted with travel agents or visitors themselves.

I have been attempting to come again from Canada to visit friends and family in Nassau for some months. However, Air Canada cancelled service when the borders were closed and the requirements make it almost impossible for Canadians and others to complete in the time frame set out.

Tests were to be no older than ten days old. This has now been reduced to five days. How can anyone take a COVID-19 test, await two days for a written result, scan it to Nassau for your new “Health Visa”, await two days or more for authority to travel and then take a flight or flights if a connection is required and be in Nassau in five days?

Who is dreaming up these measures? COVID-19 test centres are not retail stores found on every street.

In Canada, the ten provincial governments are solely responsible for health care and administer the tests in some cases. They have far more important health problems to solve than taking valuable time to give tests to people who may want to travel overseas.

Frankly, most Canadians simply do not have time for all the hassles involved in coming to The Bahamas. There are far too many other places to go without the expense and problems set by Bahamians.

Most people want to do sightseeing and move around the place they have come to visit. They will not want to be in quarantine or any other name your authorities are calling it. Even worse, they are being asked to pay for another test after 14 days.

People are not booking and the airline flights have been severely reduced from Canada. Is it any wonder with all the roadblocks?

If I did not have connections with Nassau, I would not bother to come.

The Bahamas has always been a favorite destination for Canadians.

However, unless changes are made soon there will be a drastic reduction in visitor numbers. Lost in all of the ongoing measures is any common sense.

ALAN MALCOLM

Nanaimo,

British Columbia,

Canada,

September 8, 2020.

Comments

rodentos 1 week, 3 days ago

only viable solution is to offer testing on arrival in the Bahamas. Quick test. You have nothing = you are free to go. You cant make it 100% safe. Take a tradeoff

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ColumbusPillow 1 week, 3 days ago

As another Canadian and also Bahamas property owner, I am 100% in agreement with Alan Malcolm's letter. Because of the obstacles that the government has seen fit to apply to visitors I may be forced to end my 34 year annual return............ unless theses obstacles are lowered. Until that time, may God save the Bahamas economy.

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Porcupine 1 week, 3 days ago

any common sense, indeed..................................

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Bahamianbychoice 1 week, 3 days ago

I agree completely with Mr Malcolm’s comments. As a Canadian and also a Bahamian property oowner these restrictions will seriously impact any visitors from Canada or visitors in general. I in fact emailed the Prime Ministers office and the Minister of Tourism regarding the short time frame to obtain a negative PCR test and Health Visa. I had no response. If I also did not have a connection to this country with family I would not even bother. Now we see Bahmar again delaying opening..different from what was announced. What did the government expect? Is there any outside consultation ever?

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Bluenoser 1 week, 2 days ago

I hope the details and process will allow us to return back to Eleuthera this fall. With a Nassau terminal specific to American travel, procedures for those flights could be and perhaps should be different. Canadian planes are scheduled to resume flights next month. In Nova Scotia, a province of 1 million we have had about 1,100 cases and 65 deaths (60+ in long term care). Currently we have three active cases, yes 3. A short example next door to us from the state of Maine. A population of 1.5 million and infection rate is 3X with 4,700 cases (134 deaths most over 60). The difference...there are 500 active cases. We want to return to our southern home but currently we have no means to be tested for Covid. Tests are not provided here without symptoms and our test is not the correct acceptable test. We don’t want to be forced to stay over in Florida in order to get tested before arriving in The Bahamas. Much safer to go directly from Toronto to Nassau. We would gladly be tested in Eleuthera upon arrival. Home owners may be the only visitors Eleuthera gets this year. I can’t see how all those folks visiting Harbour Island (home owners and their guests) will deal with the 14 day VIP treatment.

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canuck 1 week, 2 days ago

I agree with Mr. Malcolm. We have visited the Bahamas three times a year for the past nine years. This is the first year we won't be coming which is sad but it is so difficult to get there we have no choice. We have many great Bahamian friends we will miss and the island we visit will not be the beneficiary of the $5,000 we spend on each trip while on the island. Instead, we will go skiing and spend it in Canada. A shame because at least on the family island we visit they desperately need the economic benefit from visitors like ourselves.
We understand completely the need to be careful and protect yourselves. We wouldn't want it any other way. But it has to be reasonable. In the area, we live there has not been a single case since May. We don't have any difficulty being tested prior to coming and quarantining for 14 days once we are there but the time frames must be reasonable. Not only do they need to be reasonable but they can't change with the wind. We love the Bahamas and hope one day to return but not until we are welcomed. And we don't feel that way right now.

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