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May 8, 2020

John Briceño Says G.O.B. Should Have Listened to Warnings on Investment in Tourism Industry

John Briceño

Even before a first case of the novel coronavirus was detected in Belize, the pandemic shattered the tourism industry. Airline and cruise tourism came to a standstill with cancelations fast and furious; thousands of Belizeans began losing their jobs and by the beginning of March, hotel rooms across the country were empty. During our interview with the Opposition Leader John Briceño, he asserted that G.O.B. did not heed to the warning that putting all the eggs in the tourism basket is not sustainable. Briceño also recommended that the Philip Goldson International Airport reopen in July to gradually restart foreign tourism.


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“He did not listen and put all his eggs in the tourism basket and the tourism industry just collapsed overnight when this virus hit Belize. But here we are. What are we going to do? I do believe that tourism has a future; it will take some time to be able to open up. I believe that we need to start to prepare. I do believe that we should open up the airport—not the other borders just the Philip Goldson International Airport—for tourism to start to come to Belize in July. And why do I say July, because if we miss that window, then the airlines are not going to come back to Belize until probably October/November when they are going to start the thanksgiving season and then Christmas and then the next tourist season. We also need to take into consideration that when we open up in July, we are not going to have thousands of people coming; a few hundred will be coming at a time. We will have enough time to put the proper protocols at the airport. We know that at the U.S., before you even get on the plane, they are also checking on you and testing on your and putting your masks. Hopefully by July, we will be able to do rapid testing so that as they come in we do a rapid test to ensure that they don’t have the virus.  We know that the tourists go to a hotel, so it would be easier to track them. We have to work with the hotels to ensure that they have the proper protocols to continue the social distancing; checking on them regularly that nobody is getting sick. These are the things that need to be done, but we have to plan now. We can’t wait too long.”

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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