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Mar 13, 2020

Tourism Stakeholders Concerned About Wellbeing of Employees

The economic impact of suspension of cruise arrivals compounded by hotel cancellations, will undoubtedly affect revenue generation within the tourism industry.  Of equal concern to the Belize Hotels Association is the well-being of their employees.  The tourism sector has the largest workforce in the country; many of those in the service industry are frontline personnel whose exposure to COVID-19 would be considerably greater when interacting with visitors.  The Belize Hotel Association held an emergency board meeting on Thursday to address the concerns of many of its stakeholders and, by consensus; the primary issue is the good health of their employees.  The Belize Tourism Industry Association, notwithstanding today’s developments in the cruise sector, is confident in the protocols effected by the Ministry of Health.

 

Ted Tejada

Ted Tejada, President, Belize Hotels Association

“Our biggest concern is our employees, to be honest.  We do, the tourism sector employs a massive amount of employees in the country of Belize.  We do not want to dismiss any of our employees; we are asking all of our employers and hoteliers to look at their budget look at what they can trim back, maybe hours, because honestly our employees need their jobs.  In this crisis, as you know, everybody, if we’re going to have to sustain for another two months without tourists, how do we survive as a company, having the amount of employees that we have.  So it’s looking at recommendations, actually what do we recommend to the hotels?  First of all, it is each hotel in terms of cancellations; we cannot dictate to hotels, “Okay, you must return the money to a guest.”  It is case by case, hotel by hotel, but definitely I can tell you, Belize, as a country, has a huge amount of return customers, so how do you not refund sometimes your customer his money that he has been planning a vacation for the last three hundred and sixty-five days?  And it’s not like he does not want to come to Belize, so we do not want to first, destroy the reputation that we have as a country.  We’re asking hoteliers to be flexible in how they deal in terms of cancellations and refunds.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“While Belize generates its primary revenue from tourism, cruise tourism has been flagged as perhaps the area or most concern in respect of coronavirus because passengers onboard the cruise lines are in closer proximity to each other.  What have you guys been noticing in that sector?”

 

John Burgos

John Burgos, Executive Director, B.T.I.A.

“Well, what we know, and this is from constant communication with the Ministry of Health is that they have protocols in place where there’s screening and, you know, they have to provide documentation before they come to Belizean port.  So the Ministry of Health feels comfortable that it’s going to be able to minimize or control the [possibility] of someone coming into the country and bringing the virus.”


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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