Bahamas eyes travel ease for Saudi and Middle East


Tribune Business Editor


THE deputy prime minister has suggested that visa waivers and electronic visas will be some of the tools employed to boost travel to The Bahamas from Saudi Arabia and other Middle East states.

Chester Cooper, deputy prime minister and minister of tourism, investments and aviation, told the 22nd World Travel & Tourism (WTTC) Global Summit: “I think we are going to see more digital e-visas and more waivers of visas for places like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for travel to The Bahamas, where guests can have a multi-destination experience and can also travel on to the US having gone through pre-clearance, and have a continuous seamless transition from start to finish of their travel.”

He was speaking as a guest panellist discussing the topic, ‘Is the future seamless and contactless?’ Besides Mr Cooper, the three-member panel, moderated by Eleni Giokos, a CNN anchor and correspondent, featured Jeni Mundy, global head, merchant sales and acquiring, Visa; and Emily Weiss, global travel industry lead at Accenture.

Mr Cooper said COVID-19 had created digital opportunities for many Bahamians. He added that more have embraced digital transactions, particularly the use of mobile wallets, as a necessity, adding that the hassle-free factor and convenience of doing business online continue.

He was quick, however, to caution on tourism becoming contactless as it is a people business. “I think a part of experiencing the people and the location that you visit is about the love that people have for their country,” he said.

He envisioned that that the increasing inter-operability of digital wallets will allow travellers to seamlessly convert their currency into that of the host nation. “I think this is an evolution and I think we in The Bahamas will get there,” he said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.