Written by 7:55 am Travel

‘IMPEDIMENT’ TO TOURISM?: Baha Mar president slams travel health visa as ‘unnecessary burden’ for tourists

CDC Level 4 advisory hurting groups business, says Davis

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Baha Mar’s president said yesterday that the $40 cost of the travel health visa for tourists is an “unnecessary burden” and an “impediment”, noting that 90 percent of the guests the resort checks in are vaccinated.

Graeme Davis, who was speaking yesterday on the sidelines of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS), also noted that the country’s Level 4 Travel Advisory issued by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) can also be posing challenges to the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market.

“I hope that the fee of the health visa go down dramatically for tourists. There isn’t any need for a vaccinated tourist to purchase insurance,” said Davis,

Baha Mar President Graeme Davis.

He added: “Ninety percent of our guests are vaccinated. We check every guest that is available in and 90 percent of our guests are vaccinated. For them to pay $40 for a travel visa is an unnecessary burden and an impediment to come back here as well.” 

Davis expressed optimism that the federal government will review and take away the “impediment”.

“We imagine within the travel visa to make sure a simple upload of test results and that’s a smooth process,” he said. 

The Philip Brave Davis administration has opted to retain the travel health visa for international travelers. It has been eliminated for inter-island travel, while the fees levied on unvaccinated Bahamians and residents returning home have been discontinued.

Baha Mar’s president said yesterday that he was excited in regards to the resort’s future bookings.

“We now have seen that trend really uptick after we reopened in March in any respect three of our properties. We actually saw that surge in the summertime time,” he said, noting that the resort development’s $200 million Baha Bay waterpark has helped to attract more visitors to the resort.

“We saw our numbers when it comes to occupancy and rates exceed 2019, starting in July during September,” said Davis.

“Obviously, in 2019 we had Dorian, so in that respect we were barely up as well. Now we’re beginning to see a resurgence here in October November and December.”

In accordance with Davis, the booking pace for 2022 is well above 2019 levels.

Baha Mar.

“Our only concern here is within the group market, the MICE market particularly as you get into corporate governance and risk management,” said Davis.

“There are concerns with firms traveling into countries with a US/CDC Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning.

“That may be a real impediment for firms to travel to counties like ours, so it is de facto essential that we as a community and nation proceed to do our part to get vaccinated and follow all of the needed protocols.”

Davis said that this nation must get to a Level 3 advisory very soon.

Back in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the USA added The Bahamas to its “Do Not Travel” list, citing the “very high level of COVID-19 within the country”.

In accordance with Davis, Baha Mar has attained a 64 percent vaccination rate amongst its associates and has carried out 325,000 COVID tests with its associates and tests offered complimentary for guests.

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