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Tragedy in Exuma rings alarm bells

EDITOR, The Tribune.

What a tumultuous past two days at my travel agencies in New Jersey with the sad news of the deaths at Sandals Resort in Exuma. It has been difficult enough to get bookings for your country in the past two years. Clients come into our agencies, many having alluring feelings about a trip to the Bahamas. In the past forty years until 2020 we could get instant bookings and travellers would be on their way.

Now you are one of the hardest nations in the world to gain entry. When we have to explain all the rules, including rapid antigen tests and Health Visas, they stare at us in disbelief. Countries all over the world are opening up again with ease of entry, but not The Bahamas. Most clients ask us to book them somewhere else without the hassles and expense. With current conditions why has the Visa not been abolished weeks ago? Unfortunately the few clients for which we could get bookings have over the past two days cancelled their bookings. They are fearful that The Bahamas is not a safe place to visit. Some are willing to overlook the U.S. Government travel warnings about crime in The Bahamas, but the events in Exuma have caused great concern.

We have always been happy and willing to send our clients to you. Formerly it was our premier destination in the Caribbean area. But all that has changed with the intransigence of the two recent Tourism Ministers and their staff about entry rules. We sincerely hope that this damaging situation for your economy will change very quickly.

JOHN W ROBSON

724 Corlies Avenue

Interlaken New Jersey 07712

U.S.A.

May 10, 2022.

Comments

Alan1 3 months, 1 week ago

This is a good letter from one of The Bahamas' longstanding travel agent friends. But the Government does not seem to listen to all the criticisms of its unworkable entry rules. No wonder we are not receiving the number of tourists we should be getting. We have had no reasonable explanation why the Health Visa has not been abolished. The Tourism Minister admitted a few months ago that it was really for "marketing information" and not for health reasons. Both the Government and their associates in the online payment system are making money on these Visas. But it has,according to letters over the past year in The Tribune, been a major cause for tourists to go elsewhere. We need visitors and cannot afford to turn them away with hassles. Many working people do not have the time to go through all the procedures to get the Visa. Our economy is suffering with the decline in the tourism product. The unfortunate deaths in Sandals Exuma has not helped the situation.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 1 week ago

why all the gloom an dome without knowing the facts of the case.

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zemilou 3 months, 1 week ago

Hmm... While visitor arrivals are not back to 2019 numbers for the first three months of the year, they certainly are healthy and are a vast improvement over 2021. Numbers are Jan-March total arrivals and have been rounded: 2019 = 1.78 million; 2021 = 116,000; 2022 (preliminary) = 1.35 million. And some islands like Exuma are seeing record numbers of visitors. See https://www.tourismtoday.com/services...">https://www.tourismtoday.com/services...

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newcitizen 3 months, 1 week ago

Are they still on about how hard it is to get into the Bahamas? Is this a joke that the Tribune keeps on publishing these 'letters'? I'm pretty sure they are all written by the same person. They are all exactly the same.

Truth is, if you have trouble getting into the Bahamas based on the current requirements then you probably have a lot of trouble navigating everyday life in general.

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Bobsyeruncle 3 months, 1 week ago

With all due respect Mr Robson, the requirements to get into the USA from anywhere in the world (24hr negative antigen test) are stricter than getting into The Bahamas (72 hr negative antigen test). Not only that, the cost of getting a test for travel (no symptoms) in the US can be as much as 8-10 times more expensive than here. Maybe your clients should be made aware of this.

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