NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar assured yesterday that The Bahamas has no travel restrictions to and from the USA that might stop tourists from traveling to the country when it reopens.
The Bahamas government has announced that it intends to reopen its borders on or before July 1. Nevertheless, there was mounting concern over the country’s tourism product.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, D’Aguilar said: “Bahamasair has been leaving the USA and JetBlue has been taking people to the USA from The Bahamas. So there are really no restrictions aside from the standard visa requirements.
“…Straight away The Bahamas is the one country that has some restrictions on foreign visitors coming into the country.”
Currently, under U.S. travel restrictions, passengers who’ve transited or have been in Austria, Belgium, China (People’s Rep.), Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland (Rep.), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or in the UK (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), up to now 14 days are usually not allowed to enter the country.
The tourism minister acknowledged that if countries are restricted of their ability to travel to the USA, then The Bahamas could see an impact on tourists needing to make stopovers to get to Bahamian shores.
D’Aguilar noted nevertheless that 82 percent of foreign visitors come from the USA, seven percent from Canada, and one other seven percent from Europe.
“The remainder of the world is basically the icing on the cake, however the cake is the USA and Canada,” he said.
“…Air travel shall be significantly impacted by COVID-19. By and huge, there shall be a far reduced variety of flights until it starts to ramp back up. I feel it’ll be some time.”
In January, the Bahamian government began denying entry to non-residents who had traveled to China — the initial epicenter of the coronavirus — inside 20 days of their arrival in The Bahamas.
In March, a quarantine order was tabled in Parliament declaring China an “infected place” for a period of six months, enabling Bahamian authorities to detain, quarantine, and medically supervise all people arriving from that country.
The travel restrictions were expanded to disclaim entry to non-residents who’ve traveled to Italy, Iran, Korea, the UK, Ireland, and Europe inside 20 days before arriving in The Bahamas.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reported that airports have seen a -28.4 percent decline in global passenger traffic volumes for the primary quarter of 2020, corresponding to a discount of 612 million passengers.
Domestic and international airline traffic is predicted to diminish by -50.4 percent for 2020 as a complete as in comparison with 2019 figures.
The organization estimates that by the tip of 2020, the COVID-19 impact on scheduled international passenger traffic could reach reductions of as much as 71 percent of seat capability and as much as 1.5 billion passengers globally.
Airlines and airports face a possible lack of revenue of as much as $314 billion USD and $100 billion USD respectively, for 2020, in accordance with ICAO.
An earlier version of this story referenced projections presupposed to be from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO has refuted reports regarding the “re-opening” dates of airports as misinformation, and the story has been edited to reflect this.