NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday that he has “full confidence” in the future of the country’s tourism sector, adding that “brighter days are soon to come”.
During a national address yesterday, Minnis noted that The Ministry of Tourism has been working tirelessly with the Ministry of Health officials to devise a plan that will satisfy travelers as well as tourism stakeholders while protecting residents and visitors from the spread of the virus.
He noted that the new testing protocols announced last week allow for the discontinuation of a mandatory quarantine period beginning November 1.
“By introducing rapid antigen tests upon arrival, and then again 96 hours into a traveler’s stay, we can more closely monitor and respond to any cases of the virus and act swiftly to contain its spread,” he said.
“This means we can more confidently allow all visitors to move with less restriction through the destination. With this approach, we can offer visitors a bit more of the true Bahamas experience they know and love, albeit while wearing a mask in public places and abiding by physical distancing measures.
“In addition, this allows for people who operate excursions and tours to also return to work and derive some benefit once again from this vital industry. It also allows our Family Islands to reopen and function with some degree of normalcy,” said Minnis.
The prime minister noted that the government is encouraged by the collaboration with American Airlines, who will soon be implementing a pre-flight testing programme for passengers traveling to The Bahamas from Miami.
“All passengers will receive a Rapid COVID-19 antigen test at the Miami airport, and will only be allowed to board the plane if their results are negative,” he said.
“These passengers will then be able to more quickly begin their vacations from the moment they touch down on our shores. I note that other airlines are offering similar programs in different destinations and I am sure that this will soon be another necessary and routine step to travel in the future as all airlines institute this requirement,” Minnis said.
He continued: “I know these last several months have not been easy, and the strain on our economy has been great. We appreciate the perseverance of every Bahamian and the support and commitment of all tourism industry stakeholders.
“That said, I have full confidence in the future of our tourism sector and know that brighter days are soon to come. Only with the participation of every one of us can we can get back to business and start seeing a rebound of our economy. Tourism is the heart of our country and we must all do our part so that we can come back stronger and better than ever.”