After many months of not being able to travel for business due to the restrictions and various rigid quarantine scenarios, I was finally able to dust off my luggage, locate my passport and get back on the road. My maiden “COVID-19 era” voyage was to Royal Golf Club in Bahrain, where I had the privilege of working for many years as the Club’s General Manager during the first couple of years that TROON assumed management. Bahrain, which is only an hour flight from our Troon International office in Dubai, has been very diligent in managing COVID-19 and has had a minimal amount of cases within the country, so it seemed like a great place to start my travels again.
When leaving, I was able to experience the new facial recognition passport control experience at Dubai International, a great initiative to leverage technology to keep all of the passengers traveling through DXB International Airport, safe on their onward journey. On this flight, I traveled on Emirates Airlines, which has a mandatory and inclusive COVID-19 travel insurance for all of its passengers to remove any concerns about potential costs that might be associated with coming in contact with COVID-19 while traveling. A great initiative by Emirates Airlines to make their passengers feel comfortable traveling and shows their commitment to opening up travel again.
Upon arrival, I was welcomed into Bahrain’s new 1.1-Billion-dollar Airport terminal which was quite an impressive sight. So needless to say, the trip got off to a flying start! In Bahrain, the current entry requirements mean all passengers must take a PCR test upon arrival and then quarantine in their hotel or home until the results are issued. The testing at the airport was very well organized and it only took about 15 minutes for me to get through immigration, take my PCR and pick up my bags. The speed with which I received the PCR results was equally impressive as I had them within 12-hours and was able to leave quarantine and carry on with my visit.
As previously mentioned, the Kingdom of Bahrain has taken the well-being of their residents during the pandemic very seriously and there are several restrictions in place, which are constantly being evaluated with health and safety being at the forefront of all decision making. To date, they have about 20% of the country vaccinated, and there is a significant push to vaccinate the remainder of the population in the coming months.
With all this being said, it was amazing to see how well Royal Golf Club was doing throughout all of the restrictions, all while being sure the associates, members, and guests remain safe. The game of golf has seen a significant boom in the Kingdom of Bahrain, following the trend which we are seeing globally, as more and more people are realizing that golf is a sport that can be played safely during this time. Royal Golf Club has also been very creative in maximizing their outside spaces to create safe dining areas for their members and guests while capitalizing on the favorable weather which they experience at this time of year. Although many of the businesses in the Kingdom of Bahrain had to go through some significant redundancies due to the pandemic, Royal Golf Club has remained committed to keeping their team intact, which has strengthened their culture and overall service standard for the members and guests. It was great to see the facility doing so well.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous making my first trip. However, after seeing how well Dubai International, Emirates Airlines, and the Kingdom of Bahrain are managing the pandemic, I am excited to get back out on the road to more of our amazing Troon facilities. With my second round of the vaccine coming soon, I have even more confidence to travel and I look forward to sharing more of my travel stories soon!