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Jun 1, 2020

Domestic Tourism is Not Economically Viable

The tourism industry, from airlines to hotels to tour operators, continues to be battered by the corona virus pandemic. Hotels, restaurants and the value chain were hoping that further losses would be minimized with the re-opening the Phillip Goldson International Airport. But on Friday, the PM said that that international travel is not resuming on July first as projected and worse yet, there is no-knowing when. Today, a group of resorts and businesses sent a letter to PM Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition as co-chairs of the National Oversight Committee.  The letter is signed by more than fifty hoteliers from all over the country.  They explain the gravity of the situation and are seeking the re-opening of the P.G.I.A. on July first to avoid the crumbling of the industry. According to the hoteliers, without the ability to market properties in July and the remainder of the summer, they fear the financial health of the industry will collapse. The letter states, “The lack of a definitive opening will not only affect summer business but more importantly impact traveller vacation decisions for this coming high season which will have a cascading effect on airlines, hotels, tour operators and most importantly our citizens who are employed by the entire tourism industry. These effects will be long lasting and likely result in the failure of properties, loss of airline routes, and damage or destroy Belize’s relevance as a top tier Caribbean tourist destination.” The hoteliers propose to meet the Director of Health Services not only to come up with a solution, but to support all aspects of implementation.  Today, the President of the Belize Hotel Association, Ted Tejada told News Five that a number of hoteliers have set up meetings with the prime minister to establish a plan going forward, because business wise, domestic tourism is not economically viable.


Ted Tejada

Ted Tejada, President, Belize Hotel Association

“As you know, all the hotels at this moment are empty. We have opened for local tourism which is normally only the weekend business, which is Friday and Saturday. Due to the rain this weekend, most of the hotels were empty, there were nobody that actually travelled and actually is generating, I would say, between one and two percent of tourism. Many of the hotels decided not to open for the reason that it doesn’t make sense for them, it’s not business wise for them to open with one to two percent. Hotels as well, I know on Friday, several hotels had called and said that they will no longer be continuing holding their employees. They were holding their employees with the condition that July first is the opening day of the airport. With that being stretched maybe up to November, they decided it is impossible for us to continue holding employees from here to November without income coming in. So definitely, Duane, it is going to continue to affect the economy where more people will be retrenched because there is no income coming into any of these hotels.”

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