D’Aguilar: U.S. commercial flights banned, not visitors

D’Aguilar: U.S. commercial flights banned, not visitors
Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday made clear The Bahamas remains open to American visitors, though their mode of entry into the country has been restricted to private aircraft and pleasure crafts.

A number of US media outlets, including CNN, carried headlines suggesting US visitors had been barred from entering the country.

Prompted on these reports on the sidelines of a ceremony at Government House, D’Aguilar said: “That’s simply not true. The Bahamas is open to the United States, you just cannot come here by commercial aircraft.

“You can come here by private aircraft or by pleasure boat, so that was incorrect and we are going to correct that.”

During a national address on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced that all incoming international commercial flights and commercial vessels carrying passengers outside of certain exempted countries will be prohibited from entering The Bahamas as of July 22.

Exempted destinations include the United Kingdom, Canada and the bloc of countries that comprise the European Union.

However, private international flights and charters, as well as private pleasure craft and yachts from all countries may still to enter The Bahamas.

The minister said he does not anticipate push back from the United States.

“I think they see what we did and why we did it, and once the numbers from Grand Bahama settle, they will understand why we did what we did,” he said.

On the impact of the closure on tourism, D’Aguilar said the decision will have a significant impact and “we have to rethink our strategy as it relates not only to visitors but also to our own citizenry moving in and out of the country”.

While international commercial carriers from the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union may enter The Bahamas, D’Aguilar said there have been no incoming flights from Europe and one flight per week from Canada.

“We need to fix our interaction with the United States, both our people going in and out of the [United] States and the protocols they will now have to undergo when they return,” he said.

“Obviously, the ones we were using with the foreign visitors — from the evidence I have right now in front of me, I have no known cases created by foreign visitors coming into the country.

“They were all following the protocols, getting the COVID tests; we were screening them before they came. So, I think that was working well.”

7 comments

Wow this is stupid. Commercial flights banned but not the visitors. It makes no sense. So they can come in on their private crafts full of covid just as long as they didnt come via commercial means … same damn thing !!!! Lord we need your miraculous intervention for this country.

This makes no sense. How does this affect returning students to the us for September? Not to mention the economy.

This is ridiculous and EXTREMELY unfair to most Americans. This rule essentially restricts most tourists to visit out of Florida – which is currently the hottest states in the US. In order for tourists from healthy US states to come into the Bahamas under this rule, they’d have to travel from a healthy state to Florida. Unless you’re wealthy enough to charter your own plane or own one. As stated before, you’re alienating SO many US tourists, especially those that have followed ALL rules and live in healthy states – like all of New England, New York, New Jersey etc. Why can’t the system used to allow entry of international tourists by identifying where they reside, and deny those that reside in “hot” states only? Keep the direct flights from JFK! Several healthy US states aren’t even allowing residents from hot states to visit – no one from Florida is coming to New York, etc. US tourists from these healthy areas will remember how unfair this is. Bahamians working in the tourism industry better hope this ban only lasts a few weeks.

And – I bet – most of the recent Covid cases are from Bahamians going to and from Florida. Mr D’Aguilar seems to be the only one in the government that is trying to properly identify and manage things in a fair and responsible way.

Why are US citizens being punished for following all the Bahamian protocols??They all took Covid tests and conformed to the check in procedures but were blamed for this spread of Covid.Those procedures worked but now are required to quarantine for 14 days.The same boaterS and fisherman that bailed out the Bahamian people after Dorian have been stabbed in the back.You should look to the south at the line up of storms coming and think about who will help this time.

Because Mr. Minnis was very clear that he didn’t want us there, of course days later was push back because they need our money and resources help but in the end, they don’t want us there, choose a destination where we are welcome following the right protocols.

In this case what we need to do is just choose another destination to go, Barbados have a much better protocol, also the Bahamian police and immigration agents are very rough treating you like you shouldn’t be there, easy way is to simply not go there and not help their economy, if we are not welcome, there are plenty of affordable paradises that will accept the tourists with a smile in their face on the contrary of the Bahamians, their own police is almost communist on treating anyone anyway. If they are all about Bahamians, let’s be all about Americans and how people treat the people in hard times like this.

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