Sands stated; “The new Viral COVID cross border testing protocols for travel to the US, which includes the Rapid Antigen Test, is less of an barrier to entry for persons returning from The Bahamas, as the COVID testing and reporting infrastructure has been in place in The Bahamas for some time now, due to the fact we had to ready ourselves to accommodate our own entry requirements”.
While acknowledging that there is work to be done in some of our more remote family islands, Sands stated “The collaborative efforts of the private and public sector; tourism stakeholders; such as the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA); partner promotion boards and associations; The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism; The Ministry of Health, The Office of The Prime Minister/The Competent Authority; the efforts of varying participants of private and public sector led committees; The Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee (TRRC); The National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 (NCCC); The Economic Recovery Committee (ERC); have set a framework for the sustained revival of our number one industry. This includes the ability to ensure our visitors have easy access to the requisite tests; for re-entry into the United States of America; our key source market. Our requirement for a 5 day Antigen Test has set the stage for the destination to ensure guests can comply with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Order issued on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours in advance of departure for US for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US which will go into effective on January 26, 2021.”
Sands further stated: “We are pleased to say; it is our firm belief; The Bahamas is ahead of the curve in its efforts to fight this unforeseen and unseen foe; while our efforts may have impacted the immediacy of our recovery process; we recognize that steady, sure and smart; is key to our ability to provide our guests, ourselves; with a safe; pleasurable; health-conscious eco-system, where visitors and locals can enjoy Bahamian Sun Sea and Sand, Culture and Cuisine in a safe and healthy environment. Furthermore we note and support those private and public sector entities who have pivoted to respond to varying governments COVID mitigation efforts; which has seen border restrictions strengthened; internal policies implemented which could thwart some visitors appetite for travel”
It is indeed notable that numerous resorts in The Bahamas; including two of the largest resorts in the country; have embraced the testing requirements and incorporated it into their product offering, seamlessly and conveniently, using qualified health professionals to test onsite in a comfortable and private environment. Other resorts; including a prominent branded property with a presence in the Family Islands and New Providence; in response to the new US requirement has committed to: “providing all guests staying in The Bahamas with complimentary COVID-19 testing by approved and practiced medical professionals right in the comfort of the resort”. Some Bahamian Restaurants have also moved to provide guests with onsite rapid tests which would afford them access to dine in style; while enjoying the peace of mind that they were in a safe and health conscious environment.
Not only is this country prepared to meet the new US testing requirements thanks to its’ own stringent health and safety protocols; many hospitality businesses in The Bahamas have “gone beyond” by making compliance requirements an experience that does not detract from the visitors experience; thereby allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of The Bahamas; the culture, cuisine, sun, sea and sand in a healthy, and safe manner.
Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association
Fort Nassau, Suite 200, 2nd Floor