While the government has made changes to the protocols visitors must follow when they enter the country, which some have argued will dissuade travel to the country, the boating and yachting sector seems to be functioning even within the confines of the emergency orders, Executive Director of the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) Basil Smith told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that the boating and yachting community has not been connected to any COVID-19 hotspots.
Smith said that community is unique in that those visitors do not have to make contact with anyone outside of refueling and the provisioning of groceries and sundries, which tourism’s COVID-19 guidelines strictly govern.
“The interesting situation is that the sector has been able to function by not making contact with any inhabited island or any community… that’s basically the guideline,” said Smith.
“The ocean is open. People are being very cautious. There is no instance of COVID-19 being introduced, attached to boaters coming into the country.”
According to Smith, in some cases visitors have been able to fly into private airports and access waiting cruise charters in order to stay within the guidelines of the country’s emergency orders.
While Smith said he is unsure how the country’s latest lockdown might affect the industry, he said things are holding steady for now.
‘For now we’re able to provide a tentative hold on things,” he said.
“Charters are understanding. Some are trying to make accommodations to change dates if necessary.”
Smith said the boating and yachting sector has long been an unsung contributor to the tourism sector and could eventually fill gaps in unemployment if Bahamians are directed toward the industry.
Smith explained that interest from those who still want to travel to The Bahamas continues to be strong amidst the current COVID-19 emergency protocols.