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Hotel booking slowdown not significant, says BHTA

While the tourism industry has not been significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said advanced hotel bookings have “slowed” following the global outbreak.

“The tourism industry has seen some cancellations, which they can attribute to the global spread of the COVID-19, including a few reports of cancellations due to guests’ country of origin. However, at this time, feedback suggests cancellations are not significant,” BHTA said in a statement.

“Overall, the pace of advance bookings is reported to have slowed, year over year, for the period of March, April and May 2020. There have been some reports of new group business being booked due to the status of The Bahamas as it pertains to COVID-19 versus other potential host destinations.

“Calm, collaborative, informed decisions continue to be made by stakeholders who are committed to work[ing] together to respond to this ever-evolving global health threat.”

As of yesterday, there have been more than 118,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 110 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

At least 4,200 people have died from the virus globally.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told Bahamians not to panic despite a worsening COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the government is considering concessions for marginalized Bahamians impacted by the inevitable economic fallout of the outbreak.

“I don’t want you to panic,” the prime minister said.

“We are not affected and, therefore, you go about your normal lives in the most hygienic manner so as to minimize or try to keep this off our shores as much as well possibly can. So, once we do that and in addition to increasing our domestic tourist product, I think we will do very well.”

There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

The government has vowed that it “will not take any chances” as it relates to the virus.

“While The Bahamas is undeniably a tourism reliant destination, we appreciate every effort made by public and private sector partners including The Bahamas Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the Nassau Airport Development Company, and tourism stakeholders to educate, collaborate and deploy measures necessary to thwart the potential presence or spread of the virus in The Bahamas,” BHTA said.

It added, “Stakeholders throughout The Bahamas are enacting enhanced protocols, surveillance and sanitation measures consistent with international and local standards as recommended by The Bahamas Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”

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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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