NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The hotel industry has seen some cancellations that can be attributed to the global spread of COVID-19, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has reported.
The BHTA noted the overall pace of bookings year-over-year has slowed for the next three months.
In an emailed response to Eyewitness News inquiries, the BHTA said: “Industry has seen some cancellations which they can attribute to the global spread of the COVID-19; including a few reports of cancellations due to guests’ country of origin, however at this time, feedback suggests cancellations are not significant.
“Overall, the pace of advance bookings is reported to have slowed, year over year, for the period of March, April and May 2020.”
It continued: “There have been some reports of new group business being booked due to the status of The Bahamas as it pertains to COVID-19 vs other potential host destinations.
“Tourism stakeholders are implementing enhanced sanitation protocols consistent with international and local standards as recommended by the Bahamas Ministry of Health (BMOH), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”
Ed Fields, senior vice-president of public affairs at the Atlantis Paradise Island resort told Eyewitness News the resort has seen “very few” cancellations.
He said Atlantis has implemented enhanced sanitation protocols consistent with the recommendations of BMOH and U.S. CDC.
“We have seen a bit of a slowdown in short term bookings which we attribute to concerns of COVID-19,” Fields said.
The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) in a recent statement noted that the Bahamas Ministry of Health is working closely with all pertinent government agencies throughout the destination to execute The Bahamas National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not currently recommend any restriction of travel or trade, and The Bahamas continues to welcome visitors to the destination.
“The Bahamas is conducting COVID-19 testing and is actively employing several measures used globally to screen visitors and residents and to manage the response to individuals of concern, in line with international health best practices,” the MOT statement read.
“Traveller health questionnaires and a screening protocol are used at ports, hotels and rental properties to identify guests who may require surveillance or treatment.”
It was also noted that The Bahamas implemented new border control and quarantine measures for persons traveling from China, South Korea, Iran or Italy as a component of the country’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
All travelers who are not citizens or residents of The Bahamas, with a history of travel to China, South Korea, Iran or Italy within the previous 20 days are to be denied entry.
Citizens and residents with a history of travel to all four jurisdictions within the previous 20 days are to be quarantined and monitored closely by the Public Health Department to determine whether possible exposure, while in any of the four aforementioned countries, will result in illness.
Should they become ill, they will be managed per clinical management WHO guidelines for cases of COVID-19.
It was further noted that in regard to cruise ships, The Bahamas has increased protocol for arrivals into port and are now requiring to receive the vessels’ Medical Declarations of Health 24 hours in advance of landing.