NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A well-known banker said yesterday it was certainly “not good optics” for the country’s two largest resort properties to depart from the government’s plans to have hotels across the country reopen on October 15.
Gowon Bowe, CEO of the Fidelity Group told Eyewitness News said the consensus among among the country’s major stakeholders was key as the government attempts to once again jump start the tourism sector.
On Monday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said his ministry had recommended that hotels across the country resume full operations, including use of beaches, on October 15.
The Ministry of Tourism also its ‘vacation in place’ (VIP) tourism initiative which seeks to flip the mandatory quarantine period into a luxury experience.
Following that announcement, however, Atlantis said it continues to evaluate its reopening timeline and that it will soon announce a specific reopening date.
Yesterday, Baha Mar announced it had decided to delay its reopening further due to the current state of COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas and key markets in the United States. Employees were advised that they would be paid 30 percent of base compensation as an ex gratia payment for up to an additional 90 days, in addition to any payments being offered by the government.
In a statement to employees, Graeme Davis the resort’s president said that while the goal was to reopen in October, that goal is not achievable under the current circumstances.
Bowe said: “The concern would be what has been the discussion between the government and the principal players with these plans. With the Minister announcing an October 15 date and then what appears to be a need by the major resorts to almost distance themselves from that date as a commitment raises concerns that we are not doing this in a collective matter.”
“There are times when you will be bold in a pronouncement to bring about the result that you wish but there are times when you must be very clear with all parties on your intentions and capabilities before making those statements. I think the ministry appears to be somewhat insular looking at an ideal scenario but this is something that is going to require the agreement of the major players.”
Bowe added: “My view is it is certainly not good for optics to have what is perceived as not yet achieved alignment among all of the major stakeholders. It is wonderful to have ambitious targets but in our recovery plan has to be holistic and for the most part have consensus.”