EDITOR, The Tribune
I am the owner of travel agencies in the Rochester and Syracuse area of New York State. Our family are also winter residents of The Bahamas.
Over the past month you have featured stories with tourism officials in Nassau all painting a rosy picture of a rebound in tourism. Quite frankly the government officials have done their best in the past year and a half to discourage tourist arrivals by insisting on cumbersome and expensive Health Visas which have depressed bookings. Even the new Government changed its mind and is keeping them. We have now very few bookings for your country in my agencies which is quite disturbing considering it was such a popular destination in the past. People cannot be bothered going through all the hassles for entry when we can and are booking them to nearly all other southern destinations without all your requirements.
Another disturbing trend has been your emphasis on cruises. They do not really provide much revenue for The Bahamas compared to hotel stays. Developing the out islands for responsible tourism would be more effective. Currently we are having a difficult time convincing anyone to go on a cruise. Most people if they are going to travel want to stay on land.
Your vaccination rate in the population remains low and this is also hindering people from booking. Travel warnings and advisories against travelling to The Bahamas in the U.S.A.,Canada and the U.K. are not helping the situation.
You need to salvage what tourism is available. The first process in this regard would be to abolish the Health Visa and allow entry with a vaccination certificate at airline check in counters and a return to the easy rules of the past which were successful.
For your economy’s sake and jobs for Bahamian workers I hope the mindset of Government officials changes immediately.
RICHARD J HANSON
275 Sagamore Drive
New York 14617
November 4, 2021.