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Chester Cooper: High Demand For Bahamas As Tourist Destination

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation Chester Cooper.
File Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation Chester Cooper. File Photo: Donovan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM, Investment and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper says there is high demand among travellers to visit The Bahamas.

He said this coupled with steady forward bookings sparked optimism among tourism officials of better performance in the months to come.

He shared the news Friday after a tour of Sterling Commons and the Hurricane Hole project.

“… There is a very significantly high demand for the Bahamas as a tourist destination. (The) director general has assured me that the trends that we are seeing is very positive for the future in speaking with some hotel properties and owners and managers.

“They are likewise optimistic about what they’re seeing over the next few weeks,” he told reporters yesterday.

“I’m advised that we have steady forward bookings, and we are optimistic about the next few months and the numbers in terms of stopovers in particular that will come.”

The pandemic has dealt a blow to the country’s tourism industry and the minister indicated the priority is to return the tourist numbers to pre-COVID levels.

However, Mr Cooper said proper COVID-19 protocol adherence is important.

“(I) think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and it’s necessary and important that we do all that we can as individuals, as employees, as business owners to ensure that we continue to follow the protocols to help to contain COVID.”

Meanwhile, the minister addressed Atlantis’ controversial plan to require all unvaccinated staff to pay for weekly COVID-19 tests.

Minister of Labour and Immigration Keith Bell revealed later the resort agreed to hold off on implementing the policy.

Mr Cooper noted a meeting with the resort’s senior executives and highlighted the difficulties the pandemic posed on business.

“I think it’s an issue between employer and employee,” he said. “There are some concerns about employees paying, etc. We have a meeting with the senior executives of Atlantis. I can tell you that there have been some adjustments in the policy. I don’t want to be the one to make those announcements, but suffice it to say we look forward to working hand-in-hand with our major partners in the tourism industry.

“We will be having active discussions with the key players, including Atlantis over the course of the next few weeks. The pandemic has been a very difficult time for business especially in the tourism space and called for adjustments in policy and I am delighted that we are engaged already, and we’ll work hand-in-hand to continue to advance tourism in our country. It’s important.”

Comments

JokeyJack 2 months ago

Since there is a high demand even after we raised the European health visa to $70, should we raise it to $200?

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happyfly 2 months ago

Oh Boy. The way this guy is wearing his mask all day and talking about protocols......seems like he didn't get the message that the silent majority in this country are sick of the covid cult. Mr Cooper - You are even less qualified than doctor Minnis to tell people about their own health issues so please concentrate on making tourists' vacation more enjoyable by getting rid of all these ridiculous mandates and rules. SE Florida is by far and away our most important tourist market and they are not going to come here if the bartender is going to scream at them to keep a mask on their whole vacation........... And all you nannies talking about people dying. The only alternative this country has is getting down on our knees and going to the IMF and begging them for austerity. The FEAR of covid is turning us into economic slaves and it's time to be Brave !

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Alan1 2 months ago

As long as the Government keeps the Health Visa our tourist numbers will be depressed. Many pprospective visitors do not have the will or time to complete all the cumbersome paperwork required and the Visa charge is unreasonable. The PLP had promised to get rid of this Visa but now are indicating it may stay. Visitors can go to most other southern vacation spots without all the hassles we are requiring. Think again Minister!

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TalRussell 2 months ago

The new government should have been in a position to review and report as to the state of The Colony's vaccines and everything like that?
Exactly how effective and transarent is the left behind system used for the procurement, distribution and stockpiling of The Colony's vaccines and everything like that and did they uncover expired doses of the vaccines and everything like that, - Yes?

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Biminibrad 2 months ago

The travel visa is cumbersome and just another tax. It has and will hurt tourism.

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Future 2 months ago

YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH POLICE

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ThisIsOurs 2 months ago

They have the police. They need intelligence

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tom1912 2 months ago

I'm going to put my pennies worth in here [A tome follows] as a White OAP U.K. Citizen married to a OAP Black Bahamian Lady both now living in the U.K. [ I do have fuel in my tank ;p ] and a lover of The Bahamas. My wife is gradually getting use to the fact she does not have to be as careful here as there, w.r.t. personal safety. I've spent several months at a time in The Commonwealth over the past few years. 90% of the population I engaged with were great I must say a lot better than here in the U.K. All the people I meet were hard working more so the women. However my very first impression of the Bahamas was that I'll never complain about potholes in the roads of the U.K. again [ Only after winter, due to ice damage] My 2nd impressions was that you need a 2nd mortgage to buy food in the Supermarket even the cheaper end of the market! As to going out to a restaurant [ Other than chicken take always and fast food chains which were just a little cheaper ] you need to have a 3rd mortgage to make it a regular occurrence!! My 3rd Impresson was the amount of old wreaked motor vehicles littered [ Not in the Centre of Town or the main drags] over the place, being a non tourist I visited a lot of the non tourist areas.This was reminiscent of London in the 1950'e and early 1960's! My 4th Impression average property price were reasonable

Covid apart, surly you all must have realised the reason why all those Crusie Ship Holidaymakers don't spend much in country and go back to the ship for their food and drink, " "The Bahamas" is very expensive! While OK for those very wealthy visitors who can afford astronomical hotel costs [ Also closeted and spend little time outside the hotel apart from a tourist bus] and those also closeted in their gated communities littered around the coast but the most of the world wide tourists just cannot afford to stay and spend time there and therefore the bulk of the Bahamian Citizen, apart from hotel/ gated community workers along with tourists taxis, do not benefit from the tourist trade. The old adage in business is "turn over" makes money and increase the tax take!

High end spenders are not enough and hotels much like in Cuba do their best to keep their patrons in house, no trickle down to the rest of the population!

Pre covid for the cost of the return flight and one weeks holiday stay in a 4* hotel in The Bahamas I could have a two week holiday including flights in another Caribbean country for considerable less! Even a two week tour of the Australasia including flights. While not The Bahamas fault [BA seems to think everyone visiting The Bahamas is wealthy] it's actually considealy cheaper to fly direct via Nassau to The Cayman Island than it is if you get off same plane in Nassau [What's crazy is that the Cayman ongoing passengers have to alight in Nassau while the crew change and the plane is serviced!] Yes I know it is easy to be a critic so I have the following thoughts:- see part two

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tom1912 2 months ago

Part two. 1. 0% VAT on all essential items not just the limited bread basket whatever that is! 2. Taper VAT rising dependant on the goods luxury status. [ That will extract more taxes from the gated communities never mind alcohol products not produced in country] 3. No import duty on Solar panels and subsidise their installation.[You have so much sun] 4. The Bahamas must have at lest two growing seasons maybe three, for quite a lot of the staple foods it's populous likes therefore it's should encourage more home produced food production. Andros is a major land mass with low population, could it not be laid over to major farming industry or even small market gardens. 5.W.r.t 4) above put high import duties on food that are not produced in The Bahamas. 6. Build more food and goods factory's small and large instead of having prolific Churches and Chaples of numerios denominations littered on every corner of the street. While churches may provide emotional support and income for the pastors they do not produce food for the table! While I'm no Marxist but I'm of a mind of his supposed statement "Religion is the Opium" of the people. In the U.K. it's Football [ Soccer] 8-)

I may be being a bit naive, an am well aware the UK is no eutopia especially at the moment with self serving politicians with a don't do as I do do as I tell you attitudes and lack any socially conscience but I'm sure you all let all will soon jump on me with counter arguments. :-)

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ThisIsOurs 2 months ago

An oil sheen was first reported to the US Cost Guard shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the Coast Guard said in a press release.

"It's probably been leaking longer than we know," Foley told CNN Sunday.

These are wetlands that we've been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the Land Trust, with all the community wildlife partners to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades. And now in just a day, it's /completely/ destroyed."

This is why we need to resist any encroachment by the oil industry no matter what dollar signs and promises they flash before us. The risk isnt worth it.-cnn.com

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carltonr61 2 months ago

Russian Government gets a laugh at how USA stole The Bahamas Off Shore Banking Industry

https://tass.com/politics/1345225">https://tass.com/politics/1345225

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