The Bahamas are back open for charter and tourism after the Cat 5 Hurricane Dorian ravaged the islands — considered the worst natural disaster in the country’s history — and the pandemic forced additional closures and quarantines for visitors.
The government in the Bahamas has been working with the charter industry to develop safety measures that will still allow visitors to visit the islands and boost the tourism industry.
The Abacos are just opening up after the storm, and reports show that the area is free of new sandbars and sunken boat debris, said Raul Bermudez, vice president of MarineMax’s charter division.
Now, instead of a two-week-long quarantine, people have to have a Covid test five days prior to arrival, and another rapid test after five days in the area, he said.
The Association of Bahamas Marinas has outlined the requirements for all incoming visitors here.
Prior to Nov. 1, visitors were to “vacation in place” for 14 days, according to Travel + Leisure — which was prohibitive for charters, said Bermudez; the government will also allow tourists to fly in starting Dec. 8.
“Tourism is huge in this area,” Bermudez told Trade Only Today. “It goes all around — taxi drivers, grocery stores, airplanes — all the different people you help out when you’re traveling. Our focus has been on the beauty of the islands. Of course, the boat is a great resort — our boats are like a floating resort. It’s not like you’re stuck in one place. There’s fishing, snorkeling, diving, and of course, the beautiful beaches. People feel confident knowing they are safely distanced. You’re like your own little bubble moving around.”
As people seek respite from the lingering pandemic, and chartering is becoming an option more people are looking at to escape.
“Amazingly, people still want to travel, even with the restrictions,” said Bermudez.