The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) is close to reaching a compromise with the Ministry of Health and the competent authority on quarantine protocols for visitors, MOTA Director General Joy Jibrilu said Wednesday, adding that, “Nobody wants to come to vacation in place.”
Jibrilu, who was a guest on the TCL Group’s Cable Bahamas talk show “The Financial Voice”, said the three groups have been in locked in negotiations in order to find the most palatable way for both visitors and locals to be able to come into the country without having to undergo quarantine.
“We believe we have reached some agreement and it’s just to fine-tune it,” Jibrilu said.
“Nobody wants to come to vacation in place. We learned that quickly. A rose by any other name is still a rose. They don’t want to be stuck in one place.
“We have been able to have fruitful and meaningful conversations with the competent authority and Ministry of Health for them to understand what tourism needs to open and open sustainably.”
Jibrilu, while not wanting to preempt formal announcements, said there have been positive developments made in removing some of the barriers to full-scale tourism while still focusing on health and safety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MOTA announced recently that when tourism opens in earnest once again, visitors would be asked to “vacation in place”, a soft phrase developed to replace quarantine.
However, Jibrilu revealed that visitors have not bought the softened idea of quarantine. She added, though, that there is pent-up demand for travel to The Bahamas.
President and Chief Executive Officer at the Nassau Airport Development Company Vernice Walkine, who was also a guest on the show, said the plan that is being developed to help the country become a more attractive destination will be a catalyst for hotel properties and airlines to open their booking windows to The Bahamas.
“A lot of that booking is subject to change depending on what we decide to do next,” Walkine said.