NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper advised on Thursday that tourism from cruising has increased to pre-pandemic levels.
Cooper made the comment on the sidelines of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th anniversary celebration in Pompey Square, noting that the country has been seeing up to six cruise ships in the harbor at a time.
He said the addition of the Carnival ship “Wonders of the Seas”, which is the largest ship in the world, will put those tourism numbers over the top.
“Cruise numbers are very strong. We are almost at pre-pandemic levels,“ Cooper said.
“We anticipate that at the end of the year…we are going to rival pre-pandemic levels.“
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis recently announced a series of relaxations of COVID-19 restrictions, including removing the requirement for cruise ships to present a passenger and crew manifest disclosing vaccination status and reducing testing requirements for day-five post-travel.
Cooper said this and any relaxation of protocols is positive as it reduces the friction of traveling.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness on Thursday advised that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) de-escalated its COVID-19 travel risk advisory rating for The Bahamas from a Level 4, very high, to a Level 3, high.
The Level 3 rating advises international travelers to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to The Bahamas.
We are very happy with the rebound and protocols are working.
– DPM Chester Cooper
It also recommends that even if COVID-19 vaccines are up-to-date, there may still be a risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Cooper said yesterday that the CDC’s lowered rating will also be positive for cruise travel.
“We continue to be very happy with the protocols that cruise lines have put in place,” he said.
“They have managed through very difficult circumstances during the pandemic.
“We supported them in terms of guiding those protocols, [spoke] with them to ensure cruising was as safe as it could possibly be.
“We led the way in the region and many of our counterparts consulted us as to how they might adjust their own protocols.
“We are very happy with the rebound and protocols are working.”