|Pre-Clearance Act amended to benefit private aircraft and Grand Bahama|
|Friday, 08 January 2010 12:31|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Pre-Clearance Act has been amended to include the pre-clearance of private aircraft.
The new pre-clearance facility for private aircraft will be located in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The Bill was passed in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, January 6.
During his contribution in the House Minister of National Security the Hon Tommy Turnquest said although the Bill does not restrict the location of these facilities in The Bahamas, it was determined that Freeport, Grand Bahama was the ‘ideal’ location for the facility.
“We are confident that its (The Bill) passage and implementation will alert the owners of private aircraft that it is advantageous for them to pre-clear in Grand Bahama before flying on to their ultimate destination within the United States, then it would make sense for them to make Grand Bahama their vacation destination,” said Mr Turnquest.
He said under the current economic conditions, all indications suggest that owners and lessees of private aircraft in the United States have a preference for closer destinations and airports.
“For each of the past three years, some 80,000 visitors arrived in the Bahamas on private aircraft,” he said. “We expect those numbers to grow even in a recession once these pre-clearance facilities are in place.”
Pointing out that the economy of The Bahamas has benefitted ‘enormously’ from the establishment of these pre-clearance facilities, Mr Turnquest said all the data collected support the need for the expansion.
“Research has shown that for quick vacation getaways from the United States the time spent in Customs and Immigration is part of the vacationers’ calculation and depending on the time that one arrives in some of the US Customs & Immigration in the United States, the wait is sometimes uncomfortably long,” said Mr Turnquest.
“On that basis alone, persons seeking quick getaway choose The Bahamas for their vacation,” he continued.
Mr Turnquest added that these facilities have also benefitted Bahamians travelling to and through the United States, so much so that for a country with a relatively small population, the number of trips made to the United States is one of the highest in the world.
The Bahamas is currently one of only five destinations in the world with United States border preclearance facilities.
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