EDITOR, The Tribune.
I am writing as a Canadian with Bahamian ancestry to express the hope that your Government will soon change the very difficult requirements to visit. For years, our family have been regularly coming to Nassau. It has always been very easy. We drive a fairly short distance to Toronto airport and have a simple check-in process with Air Canada and we are on our way with the three hour non-stop flight. It has been easy to come to our favourite destination.
Now it has become a nightmare. We fail to understand why such harsh entry requirements for Canadians and others have been continued since the borders were reopened. There are far fewer COVID-19 cases in Canada than The United States yet we are lumped together with them.
Most reasonable people will not travel if they are unwell. We have been attempting to find a government health care facility who will actually give us a test. No private health care is allowed in Canada.
Giving such tests is a very low priority and so dates are uncertain. All of this has to be coordinated with your new Health Visa and the very reduced airline flights. The tests for entry were to be ten but now five days. We were told written test results could take two days. We must send these by e-mail to Nassau and hope that the travel authorisation is returned rapidly. We heard from relatives that this is often delayed.
We must purchase air tickets and pray we can actually take the flight. There is a good risk that there will be delays and you cannot travel. You are then facing costs for not using the air tickets and any other costs such as hotel cancellations.
Our travel agent has strongly advised us not to book for The Bahamas because the requirements are too harsh and we should book elsewhere. Other countries are testing at the airport on arrival or have far fewer restrictions. For us, it is family which directs us to Nassau. For nearly all other Canadians they will go to another “sun and sea” destination. They do not want to be in a quarantine and also pay for further expensive tests.
Until The Bahamas Government comes to its senses and greatly eases their entry requirements there are very few people who will book. From a situation where traveling to The Bahamas was an easy and enjoyable experience it has become a nightmare. It is unbelievable that such measures could be introduced with little or no thought to how the average person with a busy schedule would have the time or inclination to carry out all the burdensome requirements just to travel to The Bahamas.
I hope that a return to more sensible travel policies will come very soon. We are missing coming to beautiful Bahamaland.
September 11, 2020.