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Jibrilu: Data reveals demand for travel, airlift will normalize over time

The recovery of demand for international travel will begin in earnest this fall and increase through 2021, according to market indicators, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Joy Jibrilu said yesterday, adding that this country’s proximity to the United States and Latin America will be useful.

Jibrilu, who made the remarks during an MOTA cruise and maritime webinar, said her office is continually monitoring demand in the market in order to quickly respond to changing trends caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Despite the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas’ key source market, the United States, Jibrilu said there is historical and market data that reveals there will eventually be a full recovery of tourism as COVID-19 protocols set in.

“The strong tourism rebound experienced after global crises including other pandemics, along with the current market intelligence, gives us good reason to expect the full recovery of tourism over time once all of the necessary COVID-19-related health and safety protocols are in place and global travel restrictions are fully lifted,” said Jibrilu.

“We acknowledge that low levels of demand will be experienced first when tourism reopens, but the demand for travel and airlift will normalize over time and we are confident that the cruise industry will definitely relaunch. However, the health and economic recovery of key source markets themselves is still critical to our full recovery, as some of these countries are still struggling to manage their own outbreaks.

“This highlights the main problem we face at restarting tourism at this time. Maintaining health and safety in the face of the continuing risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus in the post-lockdown environment…not post-COVID-19, rather post-lockdown.”

Jibrilu contended that The Bahamas has to get on with the business of tourism in order to protect families and businesses, but she insisted that the country also has to continue to give precedence to health and safety for locals, residents and visitors.

She said while market intelligence has shown that there is an appetite for travel, people who want to travel remain reticent because of COVID-19.

“This means the destinations and our industry partners, including the airlines, hotels, tour operators and the cruise lines must demonstrate and reassure travelers that we are doing all that we can to make the travel experience and our destination as safe and seamless as reasonably possible,” Jibrilu said.

The Bahamas continues to require visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

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