EDITOR, The Tribune.
Recently, your Tourism Minister declared that he is “not happy with the tourism arrival numbers” and that “we are a glimmer of our former self”. Yet he and his Tourism staff refuse to accept any blame for the dire situation now facing the most important economic business of The Bahamas.
For many years I have conducted a travel agency in the Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania region. Formerly Nassau and the out islands were an important part of our business, especially in the winter season. Yet it seems your Government is doing all in its power to discourage and deter tourist arrivals.
The red tape and rules are unbelievable. How could you ever expect prospective visitors would be willing to meet all these requirements just to have a holiday in a warmer climate? It will become even more unbelievable to expect cruise passengers when that sector reopens to fulfill all the requirements. It is not only difficult to enter but the hassles continue after arrival when more tests and even daily questionnaires have to be filled out online. Nearly all the population here is free from COVID-19 and are taking precautions. So why the overkill with rules?
As a regular reader of your newspaper I am also astonished at some of the nasty online comments from Bahamians themselves directed to the many concerned people who have complained about the entry problems. Unlike the USA and other countries where tourism is not a major part of the economy The Bahamas relies on tourism. Do you want business or are you looking to a collapsed economy with mass poverty and resulting social problems?
Currently we have no clients who want to book for The Bahamas as a result of your current rules. It is too time consuming and expensive for all the tests and the uncertainties about getting travel permission in time to travel. Why visitors cannot just bring a test seems far easier. Drop the complex Health Visa. That is why our clients are booking to the many other locations which are far easier to enter. From our premier destination last year to no bookings this year yet your Tourism Minister continues on the same stubborn path refusing to face reality. As a longtime friend of The Bahamas I hope things change very quickly for your sake.
WILLIAM G DAVIDSON
January 3 2021.