Idaho will soon be the second state to ban all international tourism to a popular tourist destination, and Idahoans will not be able to visit the Bahamas until a new regulation takes effect.
The move by Gov.
C.L. “Butch” Otter was first announced in January, and it has since been approved by the Idaho Legislature.
Otter said Friday he was announcing the ban because the U.S. government’s tourism trade embargo with the Caribbean country has “made us vulnerable to a virus that has not been seen in a long time.”
The U.N. has been tracking a wave of coronavirus cases in the Caribbean that have killed more than 5,500 people and infected about 3,000.
Otters announcement comes amid a surge of international travel to the island, which has seen nearly half of all U.s. visitors in 2016, surpassing Hawaii.
Travel to the U, in particular, is surging because of a series of economic sanctions and sanctions relief from Washington, D.C., imposed in late February.
Butter said Idaho will be the first state to implement the ban.
Ottinger said the state is trying to make a “tactical decision” to ban international travel, including commercial flights, in order to protect the tourism industry and residents.
“The decision to ban foreign tourism from Idaho is based on a thorough review of the health, safety and economic risks to our state’s tourism economy and to the local economy, and the current state of the virus,” Ottingers office said in a statement.
“Our goal is to ensure that the health and safety of our residents is not compromised and that the local businesses and residents are not negatively impacted.”
The announcement comes days after the state’s attorney general announced that his office is preparing a lawsuit to stop the ban, saying it will be an undue burden to the state.
The governor said he wants to take the first step to protect Idaho from the virus, but he also said he is open to other steps.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Idaho was the first U., in fact, to enact a travel ban in nearly a decade.
In January, Otter announced a travel restriction for travelers from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and El Salvador.
A similar ban in January was overturned by the courts.
Ottering said he will ask the Idaho legislature to approve a bill that would prohibit Idaho from imposing a similar ban, but his office said that he has not yet filed the bill with the Legislature.
The ban could also affect visitors from Hawaii, where a new bill was introduced last week that would allow tourists to visit Hawaii, but it’s unclear how much of a threat that is.
Hawaii has seen a steady influx of tourists to the nation’s capital since the first wave of the coronaviruses in early March.
Hawaii is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and its population is expected to increase about 30 percent this year, according to the Tourism Industry Council of the Pacific.
But the state also faces a serious public health threat from the coronas, which are believed to be spreading more quickly in the island nation than in the U., including to its health care system.
Hawaii’s governor, Neil Abercrombie, has proposed closing some major islands to tourists.
The state has also banned flights to the Dominican republic, which is facing its own coronaviral crisis.
Ottery’s announcement comes just two days after Otter signed an executive order to allow Idaho residents to travel to California without visas.
The Idaho governor also announced plans to create a state tourism commission to monitor how the state handles international travel.