Bahamas open for business

With guests queuing up on the dock at Sandals Royal Bahamian here, before boarding a boat for a trip out yesterday, it was business as usual at the resort that was untouched by the tentacles of Hurricane Dorian.

In fact, a similar scene of hotel guests enjoying their vacation could be expected at Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, as that resort, too, was not affected by the category five storm that lashed two islands in the archipelago last week.

Except for Grand Bahama and Great Abaco, which are located in northern Bahamas, the rest of The Bahamas was spared the wrath of the monster hurricane that left at least 50 dead — a number that is expected to increase as search and recovery operations continue.

After taking the guests on their boat ride, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resorts and Offshore Islands General Manager Surinder Kahlon sat down with the Jamaica Observer and made an impassioned plea.

“[For] the economy of The Bahamas, tourism is the biggest thing, so we sincerely appreciate the good wishes, the prayers and donations that have been made — and I mean it has been tremendous, not only the responses from our guests but everyone — but the most important thing now is for the tourism to continue, for the guests to come, because that is the driving agent.

“We need them to come, so we want them to know that neither the central nor the southern Bahamas was affected in any which way [by Hurricane Dorian]. Things are operating as normal, so please do come,” Kahlon said.

His appeal comes on the heels of one made by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesperson Carl Smith at a press briefing at the agency’s Gladstone Road offices on Monday. Smith said that people need to visit The Bahamas to drive the country’s tourism-dependent economy.