COVID-19 wrecking travel plans to The Bahamas

Gisselle Perez, 20, was scheduled to celebrate her 21st birthday in The Bahamas next month.

However, the worsening COVID-19 pandemic caused her to cancel that trip.

“I had to cancel my flight to The Bahamas and my trip to Phoenix, sadly,” Perez told The Nassau Guardian.

She said she was scheduled to arrive on New Providence, on April 17 and leave on April 23.

“I bought my ticket around August [of last year],” Perez said.

“I even lost 15 pounds for the trip.”

Asked whether she would rebook the trip, Perez replied, “I’m still not sure if [I’ll] go [on] the dates. I want to wait a little more and see if things worsen…because my sister is flying from Los Angeles to come to San Francisco so we can leave together to fly to The Bahamas. Also, my cousin, who is also going, said they don’t want to reschedule.”

As of yesterday, there were nearly 245,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in at least 160 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

At least 10,000 people have died as a result of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic last week.

On March 15, the U.S. State Department advised its citizens against international travel.

This announcement has impacted many Americans like Samm Lehman, a Florida resident, who was scheduled to fly to The Bahamas on March 16.

Three days before her trip, she posted on Twitter, “Well, my trip to The Bahamas got canceled.”

Yesterday, Lehman said, “[It was canceled] because of some of my school rules saying that if we left the country we would have to miss school for two weeks after our vacation.”

She said she was disappointed that she couldn’t go on the trip.

Ec Osondu, a Nigerian writer who teaches at a college in Rhode Island, shared Lehman’s sentiments.

“I was billed to attend the Blue Flamingo Literary Festival at the University of The Bahamas to deliver a keynote address titled ‘Too Many Rivers to Cross: Exile in Caribbean and African Literature’ and give a reading as well,” he said.

“My college banned all faculty from international travel and the University of The Bahamas canceled the festival as well, all because of COVID-19.”

Osondu said the festival, which was scheduled for March 19 and 20, would have granted him the opportunity to visit The Bahamas for the first time.

“I was so looking forward to meeting Bahamian writers and scholars and eating some great Bahamian food,” he told The Guardian.

In a post on Twitter, Brian Coan, a student at Miami University in Ohio, said, “College is over and I’m headed home. I had to cancel my spring break to The Bahamas… My Lord and savior abandoned me, all within 24 hours.”

Five major cruise lines — Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises — recently announced that they would pause their cruise itineraries as a precautionary measure amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

Air travel has also slowed significantly as countries around the world implement travel bans.

On Wednesday, during a communication in the House of Assembly, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said, “The simple yet inconceivable reality we all need to grasp is that there will be no tourists.”

He added, “It is fundamental that we as Bahamians understand both the short and long-term impacts COVID-19 will have on our tourism industry. Life as we know it will be fundamentally uprooted for the next 30, 60, 90 days.

“To convince ourselves otherwise would be of profound detriment to the collective struggle we as Bahamians have begun to mount and will continue to mount, against COVID-19 in the coming months.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said projections reveal that the losses from the COVID-19 crisis could total $1 billion over a four-month period.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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