Tourism Minister announces changes to entry requirement strategies; admits to a “bumpy” start
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Despite initial touts of success for the reopening of the country’s borders to international commercial air traffic on July 1st, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar on Monday acknowledged that the reopening had actually gotten off to a bumpy start.
As previously reported by The Gallery, some visitors were denied access to the country after they got here. Those visitors, who were approved by Tourism officials to travel, were told upon arrival by local health personnel that they should not have been approved because they did not meet the necessary testing requirements.
It was unclear just how many visitors were denied entry at the time of that report, but D’Aguilar confirmed Monday that around 100 people were denied entry within the first week of the borders reopening.
He said officials previously thought the strategy to have travellers apply for a Bahamian health visa, which required them to have a RT-PCR molecular COVID-19 test done with negative results, would have been enough to ensure a smooth process, however travellers began arriving into the country having results from the wrong test which led to the “unacceptably high level of refusals.” He said officials have since changed strategies to ensure what many Bahamians feel should have been expected of them in the first place - that prior to green lighting travel, tourism officials are taking the time to make sure that every COVID-19 test is the right test, and is taken within the required 10 days before arrival with a negative result.
Additionally, all travellers coming in to The Bahamas must provide contact information.