NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Exuma Chamber of Commerce president Pedro Rolle said yesterday there was ‘nothing magical’ about the country’s July 1 opening date for international travelers, telling Eyewitness News that visitor arrivals will likely build gradually due to COVID-19 fears.
Rolle said: “The international flights are going to come I think consistent with Sandals opening because they bring a good percentage of the international travelers who do come to Exuma. If Sandals is closed there isn’t much appetite for international flights to come. In terms of what bookings are like for July and August, I’m not sure if they are firmed up yet so we don’t yet have a good sense of what will happen.”
Rolle continued: “We may be open to tourists but we are still going to have to assess the appetite because there is going to be a reluctance by some people to travel and move about.
“There is a confidence factor. My sense is that it is going to be a gradual process. I don’t think we will see any significant numbers coming in in the month of July. There is nothing magical about saying that we are going to open up.
“Even just in terms of local businesses, despite now being allowed to operate we are noticing that people are slow to go to restaurants and do the things that they did before. That means that many of the small businesses will be slow in bringing people back on the job.”
A Phase I reopening of the tourism sector will begin today as the country moves toward officially reopening to international commercial travel on July 1.