Speaking to the Bahamian people in a national address on Monday, Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar announced additional details of the forward-looking recovery and reopening plan, including a concrete date for the start of phase 3 of the Tourism Readiness & Recovery Plan. The islands were fully closed to tourists in July due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
October 15th is the target date for phase 3, meaning the island will be open to tourists for the popular holiday season. Phase 3 means that beaches and hotels are open, but the islands will not be accepting cruise ships, much to the dismay of Porthole Cruise readers.
It is impossible to overstate the destabilizing impact of COVID-19 on not only the global industry, but our local tourism product
In his address to his constituents, D’Aguilar laid out just how important tourism has been, and still is, for the country
“Few can argue with the fact that, since the 1950s, tourism has accelerated the growth of the Bahamian economy to a scale unrivaled across the Caribbean – facilitating the expansion of our middle class, the education of our children, and the socioeconomic means to earn an honest living,” he said. “It is impossible to overstate the destabilizing impact of COVID-19 on not only the global industry, but our local tourism product.”
The Bahamas saw a record number of tourists in 2019, 7.2 million in fact, but thanks to COVID-19, the 2020 numbers are a paltry sum.
Phase 3 does come with conditions, however. All visitors must abide by a 14-day Vacation-In-Place (VIP) at their hotel or resort, which will allow access to all amenities, including spas, gyms and bars. Phase 3 will also include the reopening of attractions, excursions and tours on November 1.
Bahamas Cruising Returns with Phase 4
Though no date has been set, the Minister of Tourism did say that Phase 4 would include the reopening of vendors, select attractions, casinos, cruises and ferries. That’s great news for cruise enthusiasts, but should the Bahamas encounter difficulties implementing phase 3, it could be a long wait until they feel confident that Phase 4 can be put in place successfully.
Would you visit the Bahamas even if you couldn’t cruise there? Let us know in the comments below!