Weekend travel frustration as health visa payment portal goes offline

Weekend travel frustration as health visa payment portal goes offline
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Travelers entering the country and needing to secure the mandatory health visa were left frustrated over the weekend after a system reboot” disrupted the connection between the health visa site and payment portal, according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

D’Aguilar told Eyewitness News: The health visa is being run on the government’s servers and at 3am on Saturday morning there was some routine maintenance done and that cascaded into the need to reboot all of the servers. When they rebooted all of the servers, it caused the communication link between the health visa website and the payment portal to be disconnected.”

The payment portal is being operated by local digital payments provider Kanoo.

D’Aguilar added: “People were able to apply for their health visa but could not pay for them. It was not until 9pm on Saturday that the issue got resolved. Obviously it created a backlog of persons who had applied and could not pay. To identify the problem and come up with a mitigation plan took longer than it should have. The issue caused a lot of confusion and had to be corrected. All of the visas held up during the breakdown should now be approved. We apologize for that and the inconvenience it caused. Technology is wonderful when it works well, but when it doesn’t, it can be a nightmare.”

All travelers, returning citizens and residents arriving via commercial flights, as well as by private planes, private boats, yachts or pleasure craft, are required to apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa at travel.gov.bs. A negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result must be uploaded to complete the health visa application. Visitors must also opt in for health insurance coverage.

About Natario McKenzie

Natario McKenzie is a senior business reporter at Eyewitness News. He has covered numerous local and international high-profile cases, including the Anna Nicole Smith death inquiry and the John Travolta extortion case. He joined the staff of Eyewitness News as a business reporter in 2019, reporting on domestic and international developments impacting The Bahamas and its business sector, with a keen focus on small business national advancement and development. In 2017, Natario was recognized by the Bahamas Press Club with two nominations for the “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism” and the “Social Media Award”.

6 comments

Please just stop trying to put the death knell over tourism. Social media was full of frustration with the non functioning government site plus the almost impossible 5 day test requirement. Even in Florida, it can take up to 4 days and $200 to get the RT-PCR swab test results.

Like I said 4 months ago ,zero Covid transmissions to date from tourists but the tourists are being targeted by ignorant restrictions.No tourist who even suspects he has been exposed will ever leave the US Medical coverage to be treated in Bahamaland.At the very least all marinas and Air B+B rentals with docking should be opened with no restrictions and boaters can be restricted to the adjacent property.

You need to have a negative 5 days before travel.
But the health visa takes up to 72 hours or 3 days to process.
Why it takes so long to process

D-Dog
Where ever you go there are restrictions. You cannot wonder any where in China, USA, Europe, Iran, just to name a few countrie.
The Bahanas is no different. We do need stricter laws, rules & regulation and this COVID-19 should have taught that if nothing else. What is good for one is good for all. No exception, because that would not be morally right.

What is the significance of the Health Visa? Why charge for a Health Visa?
Why is the payment portal not connected to a government agency?
Who is Kanoo?
Why do I need a Health visa which is only a questionnaire if I have a negative Covid test that I was tested physically for?
The Government need to collect its own funds.
Will the Competent Authority please explain .
This Health Visa payment is an xtra burden on the travellers foreign and local.

I’m tourist and arrived to the bahamas this week. Yes, there was some worries with the health visa requirements but overall it went really smooth. My main concern was the approval time for the visa after receiving negative results. I expressed my concerns and were told they were reviewing applications around the clock including holidays. True to their words, my applications were processed within 5 minutes upon submission. As for testing, that depends on your area. I live in a major US city and results typically take 2-3 days. I recommend taking the test twice at two separate locations that uses different labs.

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