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Bahamas’ economic outlook worrisome as Americans advised not to travel here

The Bahamas’ economic woes have gotten a bit more worrisome with the US State Department issuing a “level 3 – reconsider travel” travel advisory to Americans looking to visit.

The United States of America is a major tourism market for The Bahamas and this latest travel advisory will no doubt pack a powerful punch on an already beaten down tourism sector and overall economy. The Minnis administration and Tourism Ministry officials were hoping for the start of a rebound this holiday season, and some justification for how the administration – under the purview of the competent authority – has chosen to handle the corona virus pandemic locally.

The Bahamas’ overall tally as of Monday for confirmed COVID-19 infections numbers was 7,460. That’s 7,356 more cases than the country had prior to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis’ decision to reopen the country’s borders in July to allow international air travel. Since then, the virus has spread to just about every island in the archipelago and the prime minister has imposed a number of restrictions and rules, including curfews and lockdowns, in what seems to be a vain effort to curb further spread. Those measures though have left local businesses struggling to stay open and employment for some uncertain.

Opposition PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis and the Progressive Liberal Party’s COVID-19 task force have repeatedly called on the Minnis administration to provide widespread testing for free, to ramp up contact tracing measures and to do more to educate the population on the virus and how it is spread, but those calls continue to go unheeded as the prime minister has stated that Davis lives in an Alice in Wonderland fairy tale with his suggestions.

Davis though has insisted that the measures being employed currently are not working as surges are being experienced on a number of islands right now.

163 people have so far died because of COVID-19, with another 22 deaths under investigation to determine if the contagion played a contributing role.

The advisory, issued Monday, advises Americans against travelling to The Bahamas due to “health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions. It also warned them to exercise caution in some areas in The Bahamas due to crime. It follows a level 4 travel health notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which warns that travellers to The Bahamas may experience travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within The Bahamas due to COVID-19.

As the Bahamian economy continues to struggle under the weight of seemingly gross economic mismanagement with soaring debt and a high level of unemployment, the US government advising its citizens to steer clear of The Bahamas brings further turmoil for the country’s tourism sector - and with no real push to focus on alternative revenue sources - a greater uncertainty for the country’s finances.

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