By: Ann Ruppenstein
If your clients have been jabbed, they’re one step closer to travelling to The Bahamas with ease as the Caribbean destination has announced that fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from testing requirements.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated and have passed the 14-day immunity period to ensure they have full immunity, they can now enter The Bahamas,” said Joy Jibrilu, the Director General of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “They’re still required to make an application for a Travel Health Visa but they’re no longer required to do the RT-PCR test five days in advance. In addition, once on the island, they’re no longer required to take the five-day rapid antigen test.”
This is welcome news for Jibrilu, who notes there’s been an explosion of Travel Health Visa applications since the policy came into effect on May 1. In addition, she points out there are plenty of other reasons to be optimistic such as the “encouraging” news coming out of the Out Islands.
“Room nights sold and room revenue are now expected to reach the 60% mark compared to 2019, which was a banner year for us,” Jibrilu said. “This improvement in the forecast can be directly attributed to 1) the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines across the US and 2) the appeal of the Out Islands as authentic and unique island destinations that afford our guests access to nature and space and the opportunity to social distance perfectly, coupled with the fact that there is general belief that this positive trajectory will continue baring unexpected virus related developments.”
Airport improvements and upgrades are also slated for the busiest Out Islands airports, including Bimini, Long Island and Exuma, with plans underway for a new $60 million 60,000-square-foot terminal.
In Abaco, approximately 80% of the island’s pre-Dorian hotel inventory is now open for business. According to The Association of Bahamas Marinas, the boating business is already back at 2019 levels.
“The Bahamian tourism sector feels a great deal of enthusiasm,” Jibrilu said. “Over the past 12 months, we’ve had the opportunity to process the new normal that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon us and to formulate responses and strategies to deal with the rebound and recovery of our tourism industry.”
Carmel Churchill, who represents Grand Bahama Island, says the tourism board has partnered with Bahamian cinematographer André Musgrove to showcase some of the remarkable things visitors can do in the destination.
Lastly, there’s a lot happening across Nassau Paradise Island.
“We’re definitely on the way to recovery and looking for a very strong summer,” said Fred Lounsberry, the CEO of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board. “We’ve got a lot going on in Nassau Paradise Island.”
First off, Margaritaville Beach Resort is set for a grand opening on Canada Day (July 1) after a soft opening in June.
“This 300-room casual-luxe resort is going to have a water park, multiple slides, a surf simulator, a lazy river and restaurants,” he says. “It’s going to be a great addition to Nassau Paradise Island, right downtown near the harbour.”
Over at Baha Mar, developments include a new mini golf course and the launch of a Café Boulud restaurant by chef Daniel Boulud as well as the opening of the Instagrammable Sugar Factory American Brasserie.
“The major addition at Baha Mar is Baha Bay waterfront beach water park, which will open July 2,” he says. “This is a $200 million 15-acre luxury beachfront water park that will be available to all Baha Mar guests, featuring 30 water attractions – including the Caribbean’s only water coasters, a FlowCurl™ Surf simulator, thrill slides as well as luxury cabanas.”
Meanwhile, Sandals Royal Bahamian will reopen on Nov. 4 following a $37 million renovation of the 200 room and suite resort, plus the addition of new River Pool Swim-up Suites with butler service.
“It’s going to be a truly amazing resort,” he said.
For more on The Bahamas, read this recent story.