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Tourism industry may not rebound for 18 months, minister says

As major resorts announced they won’t be reopening until later in the year, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that he thinks it could take at least 18 months for the tourism industry to fully rebound.

He said health regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will limit the number of people that businesses can accommodate.

“No one really knows how long it will take for tourism to rebound,” D’Aguilar said outside Cabinet.

“If I had to give it an educated guess, I would say 18 months to two years for it to begin to ramp back up.

“Obviously with all the social distancing and all the health protocols that are necessary, you can’t have as much business as you used to have and observe the protocols put down by the health department.”

D’Aguilar said many large resorts would be operating at a loss if they were to open next month.

“I think a number of the resorts have looked at what their bookings will be like come July and they have determined that to open would not be economically viable,” he said.

“So they have decided to wait until their book of business grows.”

D’Aguilar added, “While I don’t like it, I understand it.”

He continued, “They feel that if they open now, their losses would be horrendous, and so they want to wait until it’s more economically viable for them to open.”

The Bahamas’ borders are set to fully reopen on July 1, more than three months after the country nearly shut down in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

While Atlantis, the largest private employer in the country, is set to reopen on July 7 and Sandals Emerald Bay, on Exuma, expected to reopen on July 1, Baha Mar and the Melia Nassau Beach Resort will not open until October. Sandals Royal Bahamian, Nassau, will reopen on November 1 and Club Med, on San Salvador, is not expected to open until later in the year.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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