Minister of Tourism Presents Forward Looking Tourism Plan
NASSAU – September 7, 2020 – In a national address today, Monday, September 7, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar announced additional details of the forward-looking recovery and reopening plan for The Islands of The Bahamas. D’Aguilar reiterated The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s commitment to revitalizing the country’s tourism industry while ensuring the health and wellbeing of citizens, residents and visitors of The Bahamas remains paramount.
Beginning October 15, The Bahamas will enter Phase 3 of the Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan ahead of the busy holiday season, which will include the reopening of beaches and major hotels.
Since 1950, tourism has played an integral role in The Bahamas’ economy, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s GDP and 60% of national employment. The COVID-19 Pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on global tourism and The Bahamas’ economy has felt the impact, particularly following 2019’s record-breaking tourism numbers, where the country welcomed 7.2 million visitors. The country’s in-depth Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan outlines a strategic, phased reopening strategy to ensure a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination for both visitors and residents to enjoy.
As part of Phase 3, beaches and major hotels will reopen on all islands. Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar announced that all hotel guests must “Vacation in Place” (VIP) for 14 days or the length of their stay, whichever is shorter. During their Vacation in Place period, guests will have access to all amenities, including hotel spas, gyms, bars and more. Additionally, Phase 3 will also see the reopening of attractions, excursions and tours on November 1.
Ahead of the reopening, The Ministry of Tourism is working with airline partners to secure direct airlift from key markets where the curve has been flattened. Additionally, the Ministry’s communication team is prepared to commence an agile marketing campaign, complete with authentic storytelling and aggressive PR and sales strategies, leaning into current travel trends, such as the preference for vacations closer to home, as well as options that afford seclusion and outdoor pursuits.
Following the safe move into Phase 3, the Ministry of Tourism along with the Ministry of Health and other government agencies will recommend an appropriate date to enter Phase 4, which pertains to the reopening of vendors, select attractions, casinos, cruises and ferries.
The Ministry of Tourism’s top priority remains the health and safety of its citizens, residents and visitors. In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the Ministry continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health to establish and evaluate protocols and timelines with respect to the RT-PCR testing in advance of travel.
Effective, September 1, 2020, the Bahamian government announced new entry requirements, including:
- Approved Bahamas Health Visa available at travel.gov.bs
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than five (5) days prior to arrival
The only applicants who are not required to provide a COVID-19 test are:
- Children under the age of ten (10)
- Pilots and crew who remain overnight in The Bahamas.
- Mandatory “Vacation in Place” (VIP) - for 14 days or the length of visitor stay, whichever is shorter – at a hotel, private club or rented accommodations (like Airbnb), as well as on a private boat.
It is recommended that all travellers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their party at Bahamas.com/travelupdates before booking a trip, to determine what steps need to be taken to be granted entry. More details on the Minister’s address and the Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan may also be found at Bahamas.com/travelupdates
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General Manager, Global Communications
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation