The Nassau Guardian May 18, 2020
The government is considering allowing commercial travel in and out of The Bahamas as early as July and Baha Mar Senior Vice President of Government External Relations Robert Sands said the property stands ready; however, he shied away from giving an exact time frame for when the resort will reopen.
Sands spoke with Guardian Business just hours before Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said in his national address “As of now we are looking at a possible opening date for commercial travel on or before July 1.” However, the prime minister noted that the date may change depending on circumstances.
“We’re working toward the soonest possible time,” said Sands. “In our letter to our staff we spoke about a three-month period. We’re working with the competent authority and as soon as they give us some indication, then we’ll be in a better position to discuss our particular time lines.
“I can assure you that as soon as the government of The Bahamas makes a decision, Baha Mar and many others will be in a position to respond,” Sands noted.
Last week, Guardian Business reported that two of Baha Mar’s flagship hotels, the Grand Hyatt and Rosewood, had notices posted on their booking web pages that they were accepting reservations beginning July 1.
Asked if those notices indicate that Baha Mar will be prepared to welcome guests at that time, Sands said, “Let me put it to you this way. Our top priority remains the well-being of our associates and their families.
“In the interim we’re continuing to work toward an opening date, but those dates are the ones that Rosewood and certainly Grand Hyatt have set as bench marks they are governed by when the government will allow certain things to happen, so yes from that perspective.”
The global tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as countries around the world closed their borders to reduce the spread of the deadly virus.
Since the first locally reported case of COVID-19 in March, tourism stakeholders have met regularly with the government to develop a strategy for reopening the country to foreign visitors.
“Baha Mar is involved with the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, the Ministry of Tourism and a committee that we have set up for the methodical opening up of hotels and the putting in place of protocols,” Sands said.
“As soon as the competent authority and certainly the health authorities give the signal, we are satisfied that not only Baha Mar but the industry as a whole would be in a position to address all the issues, safety and health concerns, that would be necessary for a coordinated opening at the time it becomes due.”
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar indicated last week that all levels of the tourism industry are working exhaustively on how to safely restart the country’s economic engine.
“It’s a very robust, very time consuming conversation that is preparing our country to reopen,” he said.