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Jul 3, 2019

Overnight Arrivals Dip 25% Following Double Murder in San Pedro

The murders of well-known tour guide Mario Graniel and the highly respected American doctor Gary Swank, on June twenty-third in San Pedro, had an immediate negative impact on the tourism industry. The double murders made the headlines in the U.S. media resulting in a massive hit in overnight tourist arrivals to the country.  In the aftermath of the deadly shooting that took place on the nearby lagoon, a number of bookings on Expedia were promptly cancelled.  The spike in cancellations in the ensuing days peaked at approximately twenty-six percent last week.  That figure is attributed to the direct effect of the heinous incident at the country’s most popular tourist destination.  This morning, News Five spoke with Ted Tajada, President of the Belize Hotels Association.  He says that the B.H.A. is working closely with the Belize Tourism Board in rebounding from the sudden shock.


Ted Tejada, President, Belize Hotels Association

Ted Tejada

“We live from tourism.  Actually, this particular hotel employs a hundred and twenty [workers] on a daily basis and I would even venture to say that the tourism industry employs over ten thousand Belizeans, plus, in the tourism sector every single day.  So it does affect our industry, it is affecting our industry.  We do not have the concrete figures because we would have to do an audit, but I spoke with the largest seller of hotel rooms in the country of Belize which is Expedia and they shared with me that last week when the incident occurred, we had a spike in cancellations.  They reported twenty-six percent cancellations where their normal is fourteen percent.  But this week it has come down to nine percent because the people realize that this is not who we are.  We as Belizeans, we love the tourism industry, we love the tourists.  This was an unfortunate event and so it did spike when it happened, but we are working with the tourism board.  We are working with the authorities to find solutions to this crime issue and we need to find it because tourism contributes a huge percentage and actually for the last three months, between January, February and March, tourism contributed forty-four million to the GDP of this country.  So it’s a huge segment in our GDP for Belize.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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