NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) President Peter Maury yesterday warned that The Bahamas “can’t afford any mistakes now“ as it aims to get its tourism sector back on track, telling Eyewitness News, “Any setbacks are really going to hurt us.”
Maury said that from the marina operators’ perspective, the travel visa requirement and COVID-19 testing has been going “pretty smooth” in the industry.
“I think if we can keep it together and keep moving, things could begin to turn around. It’s been a tough year for everyone. We are just hoping that going forward we continue to progress. Any setbacks are really going to hurt us. We were hoping to be much further along. We were the first industry to really open in June as far as hospitality is concerned. We had a pretty good prognosis on the other half of the year and that, of course, didn’t happen. Going forward, I just hope it doesn’t get any worse,” said Maury.
He said the sector is looking to 2021 and hoping to stir up some activity potentially with a boat show in the first quarter. Maury also noted that the introduction of a vaccine could also be a major game-changer.
“We have a long haul to make up for. We are not as busy as we had hoped but the good thing is that with the boats we do have coming in, everything is going smoothly. Our biggest concern is that the boats can go anywhere. There are a whole lot of boaters in North America that want to come to the Caribbean.
“This is like a test. The British Virgin Islands and Antigua, all those places want the same business. There are not as many boats traveling. If we can uphold the maritime industry, keep moving ahead and make it convenient for boaters coming in, maybe we can stem the flow of boats through The Bahamas. That’s what we are hoping. When boats travel out of the country and go further south, they don’t tend to come back. We can’t afford to make any mistakes now.”