EDITOR, The Tribune.
I am a longtime visitor to Nassau from Ontario, Canada. I first came when I was a child over 55 years ago to visit my Bahamian grandparents. Now I have been bringing my wife and two children. Every visit has been enjoyable not only seeing family but touring around the visitor spots, beaches and restaurants.
We normally come for a month in August before the children return to school. However this year we could not come because The Bahamas has ceased to be a visitor friendly destination. I read in your edition today that The Prime Minister wants to reopen fully by October. But who would ever want to visit with the current requirements?
I do not think the Tourism Ministry has given much thought as to how the difficult conditions to enter can be completed. People who would travel have just been coming out of months of restrictions themselves. They want to be free of these burdens and go around normally.
They do not want to be in a quarantine and then those, like ourselves staying over 14 days, be forced to pay expensive further COVID-19 tests.
For four people that could be $1000 Bahamian or $1400 Canadian. Was any thought given to how persons in Canada or elsewhere could complete all the requirements to get your new Health Visa and be on the ground in Nassau in five days? It seems unbelievable. It is difficult and time consuming for Canadians to even find a health clinic which will give healthy persons a COVID-19 test. How much research was done?
Our local travel agent says that prospective visitors at their large office are being steered away from The Bahamas to other destinations where the requirements are a lot less restrictive.
Most people cannot be bothered and do not have time to proceed with a Bahamas vacation. It is just too much of a hassle. No wonder your hotels and resorts are empty and Air Canada has cancelled nearly all of their flights.
How can The Bahamas afford to destroy the tourism sector as it is the lifeblood of the nation?
We feel very badly that we cannot return to Nassau at this time and sincerely hope that the government will change the rules quickly, especially for Canadians and other overseas people from countries where the pandemic has been contained and there are very few cases. Who would travel anyway if they were ill? It is essential to make changes quickly as people are now booking winter and spring vacations.
September 17, 2020.