0

Government Hopeful Smaller Hotels Can Jumpstart Tourism

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

By LEANDRA ROLLE


Tribune Staff Reporter


lrolle@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said the Minnis administration is hopeful that the re-opening of smaller hotels will help jumpstart the tourism industry.

This comes after several of the country’s top resorts, including Baha Mar, the Melia Nassau Beach property and Club Med in San Salvador announced they will not reopen on October 15, the date recommended by the Ministry of Tourism for the resort industry’s return.

Some resorts have even indicated that they may not resume operations until Christmas, with one property saying it won’t reopen until late 2021.

Acknowledging the challenges this poses for the government, the finance minister said the Minnis administration is hoping that smaller size hotels will resume operations to help attract more tourists to the country, thereby aiding in the economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Well, obviously this presents an additional challenge for us. As we’ve said from the beginning, our plan recognises that we will not have any significant tourism activity until the November time frame,” he told reporters on Friday on the sidelines of a United States Embassy equipment handover.

“We’re still hopeful that though the major hotels have announced that they may not be opening right away that the smaller hotels will be open, and we will start to see some activity both here in New Providence as well as in the Family Islands.”

He added: “We know for instance that the Family Islands bring high value tourists and so that will go some way for providing opportunities for residents in those communities to contribute to the overall economic wellbeing of the country.”

“Of course, the Ministry of Tourism continues to work with the ministry of tourism stakeholders to try and bring back tourists as quickly as possible, establishing the protocols as to how we will do that safely and we certainly hope for the best – that all their plans will work out and we will be able to get through this as quickly as possible.”

Since the hotels’ announcements, many have called for more financial assistance from the government with workers uncertain about their future with their respective companies.

In March, the government launched its unemployment benefit programme for self-employed people directly connected to the tourism sector and later expanded it to include self-employed people outside of the industry.

Comments

mandela 3 months, 4 weeks ago

How ironic the very entrepreneurs that can't get the same tax breaks and subsidiaries as there larger counterparts are supposed to help jumpstart the tourism economy, Now, maybe, our governments will finally see and understand how much more important our local entrepreneurs are to the economies survival and invest in them honestly and truly.

5

DDK 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Perhaps, Mandela, perhaps. Thing is, they will use the small business owners as they always do, to help jump-start the economy while, at the same time, continuing to give financial incentive breaks only to the mega foreign concerns.

1

Honestman 3 months, 4 weeks ago

We have to try but I just don't see many tourists wanting to come here at the moment knowing that we have a daily infection rate of anything between 50 and 90 per day and our health system presently overwhelmed. With restaurants restricted to open air only and the big casinos closed, what are small hotels going to be able to offer in this climate?

0

Amused 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Who will vacation in place for 14 days? The government seems not to get it

3

Honestman 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Rather than focusing on limited opportunities for small hotel operators, I would be happier if government presented a clear plan for reversing the current trajectory of the infection rate. It feels like the competent authority has given up on defeating the spread of the virus and has been persuaded by others to just carry on and pretend it doesn't exist. Hence the re-opening next month regardless of the worsening numbers. We have to do something different because the numbers won't just magically start reducing. So what is government's plan to reverse this worsening trend? Focusing on re-opening is surely putting the cart before the horse.

2

trueBahamian 3 months, 4 weeks ago

As "Amused" put it, who wants to vacation in place for 14 days? So, stay in one place for 14 days. Th e small hotels will have little or no amenities. So, let me see, you pay thousands of dollars to quarantine for your entire trip (as most people won't be here more than 14 days). All your meals have to be ordered and delivered to you. You get thr opportunity of looking out a window from time to time. Sounds great!

3

alfalfa 3 months, 4 weeks ago

He is hopeful that the smaller hotels will re-open. For God's sake, has the government not spoken to them and determined this already. Making an announcement that you are opening for visitors (albeit a small amount due to all the restrictions), without first confirming that there will be places for them to stay, is a sure way to further reduce our chances of rebounding ever. So now what? You announce worldwide that you can visit, but you won't have living accomodations? For real?

1

ISpeakFacts 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Turnquest is just like everyone else in the Minnis administration... A COMPLETE IDIOT!

0

whogothere 3 months, 4 weeks ago

  1. You don’t need to stay the full 14 days so there you can come in for weekend.
  2. Under current refs you are not confined to your room guests are still allowed full access to hotels.
  3. This is why VIP was a lame attempt by MOT it was nothing new. Just a publicity stunt to change the name of what was already in place.
  4. As I understand some family island destination have been full straight through - Stan cay, chub , kam cay etc basically island resorts
  5. Economy and everyone is screwed, unless they allow guests to leave the hotel.
0

Clamshell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

A. Very few people go to the expense of flying to the Bahamas from the U.S. or Canada for a weekend.

B. Your “understanding” of the status of Family Islands resorts is off-base: I’m in contact with close friends on Eleuthera who say there are virtually no tourists, or even expat homeowners, on the island right now. The restaurants that are open are virtually empty.

0

whogothere 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Eleuthera isn t a resort island but ask them about bougainvillea.

0

Clamshell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

They went to dinner at La Boug last weekend, were the only people there. And you miss the point: If you go for a weekend or a week or two weeks as a tourist, you are in quarantine the entire time. Yeah ... some vacation.

While it’s true Eleuthera has only a few small resorts, it has a HUGE rental home market, as well as Harbour Island, and those are mostly all empty.

2

whogothere 3 months, 4 weeks ago

My point is that 14 days locked anywhere is awful 3 days in nice hotel or private home with a pool is a darn site better than being restricted in concrete jungle I have friends in Realestate and hotel biz they seeing slow booking but have had some...The issue for eleuthera is not actually policy but flights - island resort destinations - Kam, chub, stan etc - haven't felt the burn because a) their guests face a light quarantine and b) primary access is normally charter or boat. The point more consequentially is that your assumption that people don't fly to bahamas for a weekend is not correct as is your understanding of what is working right now tourism and what isn't and why.

0

Clamshell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

”I have friends in real estate, blah, blah ...” If your assumptions were correct, the islands would be teeming with tourists right now. How’s that working out for you?

0

Clamshell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

... not to mention that Staniel, Chubb, etc., are such tiny microdots on the Bahamian tourism scene. What happens at those little marinas is hardly consequential in the larger scheme of things.

0

whogothere 3 months, 4 weeks ago

And you re missing point doesn’t t matter if you go for weekend or 5 days or a week the point is it’s not 14 days requirement.

0

lovingbahamas 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Can the ideas of our government get any crazier? VIP? 5 day tests? Health Visas? Small hotels? So, if the tourist can get a test, and get results in a couple of days, and get a health visa In a couple of days, then hustle like crazy to get a plane reservation, then get to the airport and get on the plane, then get hassled by immigration and customs, and maybe turned back, then take an expensive taxi to a small hotel. For what? To walk to the pool? And, then are the little hotels supposed to feed them sandwiches? They just created a good reason to go to Florida or the keys and eliminate about 95% of the hassle! Instant testing is the only answer. Spend money to make money! This isn’t brain surgery.

2

joeblow 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Our governments flounder and make poor decisions in good times so who can expect them to excel in decision making during times of crisis?

2

shonkai 3 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't see any Covid number today, so went to the "official" site, https://covid19.gov.bs/">https://covid19.gov.bs/, and lo and behold, last update Sept 8. Sad

0

ColumbusPillow 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The maximum 5 day rule for a CVID test is stopping most Canadian visitors from coming. Government testing in Canada is not capable of meeting demand. Make it 1o days or even 8 days and things will get a lot better.

0

TalRussell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The Colony. had long before COVID-19 been on the tourism end of quality path.
I must take issue with both ministers KP and Dioniso James in their shared beliefs when the major mistake was their buying into the thinking that COVID-19 has somehow singlehandedly blindsiding come along changing and just turning everything and anything upside down and out abut what has been long thought to be known about operating a successful tourism economy.Shakehead once for Yeah, Twice for Not?

0

Bonefishpete 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Americans are buying RV's and travel trailers. Most are staying put or traveling near home. They will not come as long as a covid test is required. They don't want to "vacation in place".

Hope as you will they're not coming. Open the country up or keep closed. Only options, wish it was different.

0

TalRussell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

My Comrade Bonefish, whilst not exactly what you'd described as a welcomed godsend, nevertheless since she has done made her landfall shouldn't she scare the living shi# out all need to have sobering reflection back over the good, the bad, and the ugly of our tourism strategy more so as was executed over the past three generations?
Shakehead once for Yeah to whom much is provided with, much goin' be required back. (Luke 12:48a), Twice for Not?

0

Clamshell 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Shake head 3 times if you have even the vaguest idea what Tal is talking about.

0

SP 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Lol.....thought I was the only one that never understood anything Tal says.

0

SP 3 months, 4 weeks ago

The PLP and FNM could not see any wisdom in empowering Bahamians to become the largest stakeholders of our economy. Make no mistake, decades of corruption, stupidity, and mismanagement, coupled with Dorian and COVID-19 has laid our country bare in neck-deep do-do!

After decades of Bahamians being denied a piece of the tourism and economic pies by successive governments, their asinine stupidity and insistence on giving everything lock, stock, and barrel, to foreigners have finally come full circle to bite them squarely, deep in the arse!

Only a blind person couldn't see 3 months ago that small hotels and airb&b's would become the catalyst to jumpstarting the tourism industry, regardless if Trump shut down the US economy or not to get Covid-19 under control. Obviously, tourism could only start as a trickle, not a gush, which translates to small hotels and airb&b's "if anything" at all.

Now, the very same small hotels and airb&b's that get no government incentives, and the big hotels wanted to destroy, are now being relied upon to jump-start the tourist industry.

The fact that we will have no more lockdowns is not because we don't need them, but because the government is broke and cannot afford to feed and care for folks under further lockdowns.

MOT "VIP" restrictions are consistent with Jamaica's tourist Covid-19 policy. Jamaica tried a "resilient corridor" concept allowing visitors to traverse certain portions of resort areas. That failed, and they reverted to VIP as well.

The government needs to face the reality that the only possible solution to our tourist_Covid-19 problem, is to implement the new $5.00, 15-minute COVID test, have tourist sign COVID-19 wavers, and let them vacation freely as normal. Nothing else will work.

https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech...">https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech...

1

Beachbae 3 months, 4 weeks ago

100%!! In other countries around the world people arriving from abroad are able to take tests upon arrival (in addition to one before departure) and if they pass they are able to forgo the quarantine requirements. Is it perfect and impervious plan? No.. But with a 97.7% accuracy rate these rapid tests offer a a second level of defence for the 5 day gap between initial testing and arrival. Look, Covid is in The Bahamas at a similar rate to it is in the USA. We're as likely to infect a tourist as the tourists are to infect us at this point. I'd feel a ton safer in a room full of tourist who have been tested twice within a week of their arrival than a room of Bahamians who can't afford the $150+ testing fee to find out if they are infected. I'm a family island vacation rental based business owner and and there isn't a single aspect of the VIP program that appeals to any of my clients. If this two week quarantine requirement stays in place thought November and into 2021 I don't foresee any of the family islands being of any use to the govt's hope of kickstarting the economy.
None of the hotels on my island can really offer much along the lines of amenities that would motivate anyone (me at least) to jump through the necessary hoops required to get here. Without access to the village that offers variety in dining, shopping, entertainment

0

Beachbae 3 months, 4 weeks ago

100%!! In other countries around the world people arriving from abroad are able to take tests upon arrival (in addition to one before departure) and if they pass they are able to forgo the quarantine requirements. Is it perfect and impervious plan? No.. But with a 97.7% accuracy rate these rapid tests offer a a second level of defence for the 5 day gap between initial testing and arrival. Look, Covid is in The Bahamas at a similar rate to it is in the USA. We're as likely to infect a tourist as the tourists are to infect us at this point. I'd feel a ton safer in a room full of tourist who have been tested twice within a week of their arrival than a room of Bahamians who can't afford the $150+ testing fee to find out if they are infected. I'm a family island vacation rental based business owner and and there isn't a single aspect of the VIP program that appeals to any of my clients. If this two week quarantine requirement stays in place thought November and into 2021 I don't foresee any of the family islands being of any use to the govt's hope of kickstarting the economy.
None of the hotels on my island can really offer much along the lines of amenities that would motivate anyone (me at least) to jump through the necessary hoops required to get here. Without access to the village that offers variety in dining, shopping, entertainment there isn't much these hotels can offer..

0

Beachbae 3 months, 4 weeks ago

100% SP!! In other countries around the world people arriving from abroad are able to take tests upon arrival (in addition to one before departure) and if they pass they are able to forgo the quarantine requirements. Is it perfect and impervious plan? No.. But with a 97.7% accuracy rate these rapid tests offer a second level of defence for the 5 day gap between initial testing and arrival.
Look, Covid is in The Bahamas at a similar rate to it is in the USA. We're as likely to infect a tourist as the tourists are to infect us at this point. I'd feel a ton safer in a room full of tourist who have been tested twice within a week of their arrival than a room of Bahamians who can't afford the $150+ testing fee to find out if they are infected. I'm a family island vacation rental based business owner and and there isn't a single aspect of the VIP program that appeals to any of my clients. If this two week quarantine requirement stays in place thought November and into 2021 I don't foresee any of the family islands being of any use to the govt's hope of kickstarting the economy.
None of the hotels on my island can really offer much along the lines of amenities that would motivate anyone (me at least) to jump through the necessary hoops required to get here. Without access to the village that offers variety in dining, shopping, entertainment there isn't much these hotels can offer..

0

SP 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The economy is quickly drowning, more and more people are being evicted, families are going hungry, crime is already trending to above peak levels, and police are doing walkabouts in the east warning residents to secure themselves and brace for more crime.

The government is now forced to recognize, acknowledge, and turn to locally owned small businesses to carry the country, but it is too late. Too many Bahamians have been blocked out of participating in the local economy by successive governments for too long.

Over 5 decades how could so many college-educated business professionals supposedly "learned" "honorable" men and women have been so stupid not to acknowledge and push for the development of small businesses? Didn't they know It's common knowledge that small businesses drive economies? Why did they systematically block Bahamians out of owning a piece of the economic pie?

https://groundfloorpartners.com/the-d...">https://groundfloorpartners.com/the-d...

It seems as if they purposefully destroyed our country! Why? What now? Who accepts responsibility?

0

TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

My Comrade SP, to further illustrate how true is your point need to reflect back to the thinking when opposition leader, how it be's that Mr. Minnis must've known the answer to your, it ain't easy shakedown a locally owned business when an individual of a certain local company of which he Minnis desired to become a shareholder in had attempted shake him down. Mr. Minnis later recalled how he stood firm by flat-out rejecting the individual's attempted shakedown for some under the table consideration, telling them him to keep the full ownership of his company, and walked away.

0

proudloudandfnm 3 months, 3 weeks ago

He's basically admitting there is no plan without tourism.

But....

Their bungling, chaotic handling of the virus is actually killing our potential for tourism.

I swear its hard to imagine a worse administration than this one...

0

Sign in to comment