NASSAU, BAHAMAS —The government will eliminate the travel health visa requirement for entry into the country this Sunday, in addition to pre-travel testing for those fully vaccinated it was announced yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Cooper, the Minister of Tourism, Aviation, and Investment made the announcement on the elimination of the health visa yesterday during his contribution to the 2022/2023 budget, noting that the government was eliminating one of the “pain points” ahead of the peak summer travel period.
“I am pleased to announce that the Cabinet of The Bahamas has approved the elimination of The Bahamas Travel Health Visa. This is going to take effect at 12.01 on Sunday, just in time for Fathers Day,” said Cooper.
East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson later questioned whether the country’s testing requirements would remain in place.
Cooper at the time noted that all passengers will still have to provide a negative COVID-19 test, noting that Bahamians do not require a travel health visa.
“That is going to continue, he said.
“My intervention was simply to say that we are eliminating one of the pain points, one of the friction points ahead of the peak summer months to ensure, that we are able to get the numbers that we need for our tourism product and our economy.
“We are satisfied and comfortable that it is the right thing to do at the right time. We are not eliminating testing. Everyone traveling to The Bahamas will continue to have to demonstrate that they are COVID negative,” said Cooper.
Later, however, the Ministry of Tourism issued a statement announcing that in addition to eliminating the health visa requirement, vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to submit to pre-travel COVID-19 testing.
In that statement, Cooper said, “The Bahamas is adapting to the continued evolution of this pandemic. We want to streamline the entry process for travelers as much as possible, all while ensuring we are protecting public health. We hope the changes to the pre-travel testing requirements combined with the elimination of the Travel Health Visa will reduce the friction for travelers and further recovery of our tourism sector.”
The United States has ended its requirement for travelers entering the US to present a COVID-19 rapid antigen test. Tourism stakeholders have called for the Bahamian government to end its required testing policy for travelers entering The Bahamas.
Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) president Robert Sands said in a recent statement that as countries continue to drop their testing requirements, The Bahamas cannot be the “last man standing”.