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May 12, 2020

Reopening Local Tourism; Great Deals for Belizeans to Overnight at Hotels Across the Country

Belize, along with Barbados and Bahamas, is being cited as the three countries in the Caribbean region hardest hit in the tourism industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We know that the borders will remain closed until the end of June, which means that airline travel is not in the works before then. Cruise ships schedules for Belize are also on hold.  So what is the way forward? As we told you on Monday, there will be a soft reopening of the local tourism sector, but government is laser focused on keeping the pandemic away. Now, today marks thirty days since Belize has recorded a positive case of COVID-19, so the National Oversight Committee, chaired by the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister, on Monday made recommendations that have now gone to cabinet. Among the recommendations are the use of pools and the operation of hotel restaurants as well as cross district movements.  Belize Hotel Association President, Ted Tejada says that at this time, they are unable to say what the economic impact to the industry is so far, but that hoteliers stand ready to resume business.


Ted Tejada

Ted Tejada, President, Belize Hotel Association

“There are only twelve countries in the entire world that at this moment have declared that there is no cases in their country or their cases have been resolved, per se. Belize is one of them. So the Prime Minister has decided to allow us to open hotels as of this week and allow Belizeans to stay in our properties. To be honest Duane, Belize in terms of property, we only get about ten percent local tourism; the overall sales that we do is not massive. But we have asked all our properties to let’s bring down our rates, let’s give a rate to our population for now—you are looking at May and June where the airport is not going to be open—that our Belizeans can enjoy and you as a hotel get some revenue to maintain your staff because a lot of the hotels as well still have an amount of staff still working for them. So we need to get a little bit of revenue so that we can continue to survive.  In all the industries, we know that the rate for 2021 will not go up. What we will see is a trend where hotels will be including amenities. Maybe we did not give you breakfast, but this time, we will include the breakfast because we need to restart the tourism industry. So the local Belizeans, I can assure you that by this week, if you go to the Belize Hotel Association webpage, there are going to be local packages loaded there for local guests trying to travel internally so that they can get to enjoy our properties. And they are going to be our best ambassadors. When this reopens, they are going to be the first ones posting it on social media. And we don’t want to brag that Belize—and let me congratulate the medical team and that task force that has been doing an excellent job of making sure that the COVID-19 is not in Belize. We don’t want to brag, but definitely we need to let the world know that we, as a country, have been able to mitigate the virus; that it is not here for the last twenty-eight days. I know that the searches for Belize will skyrocket because everybody is going to want to know how did we do it and what are we doing to contain it going forward.”

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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