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Jibrilu: Doubtful U.S. COVID advisory will deter visitors

Ministry of Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu said yesterday she doesn’t believe the United States’ level four travel advisory for The Bahamas will dissuade U.S. visitors from traveling to The Bahamas when it reopens next month.

The U.S. Department of State issued the advisory, which told its citizens to not travel to The Bahamas, last month.

“The travel advisories, we’ve lived with them but the evidence has shown that it is not impacting people wanting to come to The Bahamas and it does not impact the fact that we message that anyone coming to any city or any country should exercise every precaution,” Jibrilu told The Nassau Guardian

“In this instance, obviously, it’s health and safety precautions and that’s the message that we’re getting out including with all our tourism partners on island.”

She added, “The travel advisory — from conversations with officials at the U.S embassy — seems to be centered around COVID-19 numbers when they were exceedingly high both in Grand Bahama and New Providence.”

Jibrilu said Bahamian health officials believe The Bahamas has reached a level where the COVID-19 cases are “controllable”.

“If you look at what the numbers were in the U.S., I don’t think that that will be a primary consideration for people not to take a visit,” she said.

Jibrilu noted that an “overwhelming” majority of people, who were surveyed by the Ministry of Tourism, were in favor of taking a COVID-19 test prior to traveling.

On Monday, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said the government is eyeing a near full reopening of the tourism industry in early November.

According to the plan, phase three of the tourism reopening will begin on October 15, with full beach access to be allowed on all islands, the reopening of major hotels and access to all amenities, and water taxis permitted to operate. 

On November 1, it is expected that attractions, tours and excursions will resume. 

However, it remains unclear when phase four, which will allow vendors, jet ski operations, casinos, cruises and ferries, to resume operations, will begin.

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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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