Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Expedia travelers eyeing Bahamas July reopen



By Natario McKenzie

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nearly 70 percent of Expedia hotel bookings to the country are for stays in July or August, Eyewitness News has learned.

Christie Hudson, senior public relations manager at Expedia North America noted some travelers are keeping an eye on destinations like The Bahamas in a bid to enjoy their vacations before end of summer despite COVID-19 concerns.

Hudson said: “When we look at hotel bookings for the Bahamas made during the last two weeks on Expedia.com, nearly 70 per cent of the stays are for July or August dates. One way to interpret that is travelers are really keeping an eye on these destinations as they reopen and wanting to get their vacations in before summer ends.”

While she was unable to share specific numbers, she confirmed booking volume is lower than last year.

COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease globally and several Caribbean countries have initiated the process of reopening their borders to tourists for the summer months.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has announced that a Phase I reopening of the tourism sector will begin on June 15.

Tourism industry stakeholders plan to ‘test the market’ and effectiveness of new protocols outlined in the country’s tourism readiness and recovery plans, as the country moves towards officially reopening to international commercial travel on July 1.

Boaters, yachters and private pilots will be allowed to travel to The Bahamas as of June 15.

Tourism executives last week outlined industry protocols to be implemented as travel restrictions are lifted.

With the exception of Bimini, most of the islands  have recorded no COVID-19 cases.

Officials believe the country’s proximity to the mainland US, and in particular the low density Family Islands, present an attractive proposition for travelers.

Yesterday, Out Island Promotion Board executive director Kerry Fountain said: “Generally speaking, all of the hotels – members and non-members alike – are excited to re-open. They must now meet the COVID-19 certification requirements of the Ministry of Health.”  (source)