The Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee (TRRC) is nearly complete with the final draft of a plan for the reopening of the tourism market and hopes to present that plan to Cabinet by the end of this week.
The committee, which is co-chaired by Ministry of Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu and Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) President Vernice Walkine, has been meeting regularly over the past month and researching global best practices to develop a plan that could work for The Bahamas.
“We’ve been meeting regularly, coming up with the edited version to present to government and if government can accept our proposal of the recommendations for protocols, then that would be shared widely with the industry. We are working very, very, very hard for the end of this week,” Jibrilu told Guardian Business yesterday.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday that the government is considering the possible reopening of the borders for commercial flights on or around July 1. In addition, various hotels have announced plans to accept bookings for their properties by that time as well.
“It cannot be business as usual,” said Jibrilu. “We know there’s going to be a huge demand for change, with health and safety first. We’ve also come up with protocols for all those subcommittees. We want to present that first draft of this very comprehensive plan when it is completed,” she said.
Stakeholders across the tourism sector, including the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), representatives for ports of entry on New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands and excursion companies, were involved in the formulation of the health and safety protocols.
“So this committee has 27 subcommittees dealing with every aspect that you can imagine, taxi cabs, even jitneys, because a lot of our visitors take buses, excursions, hotels are a huge component of it, straw vendors, the braiders, you name it,” Jibrilu said.
“There’s a wealth of material out there, so we looked at the best. A lot of it the industry came up with on its own and this is the beauty of industry stakeholders themselves, they looked at what pertained to their industry globally and looked at how they can adopt that to ensure that primarily Bahamians are safe and the visitors are safe too.”
Jibrilu said if the plan is adopted by the government, it will be disseminated to the public.