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Jun 11, 2020

A Split Decision on Reopening the P.G.I.A.

John Burgos

So there is no decision yet on the reopening of the P.G.I.A.  The results of a recent survey conducted by the Belize Tourism Industry Association indicate that fifty percent of members who participated in the poll prefer that the Philip Goldson International Airport reopen at a later date than July first.  Those dates range from August first to December first.  Of all those who took part in answering the questionnaire, eighty-eight percent are in favour of government implementing a comprehensive reopening plan with adequate medical safeguards prior to a reopening date.  Executive Director John Burgos explained the results of the survey.

 

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

“The second question was: Are you in favour of supporting the Philip Goldson International Airport to open in July? Yes or No.  If there‘s yes. There’s a further question.  If the answer is no, I want to know why not.  And people presented different questions.  Now everybody wanted to focus on question number two.  What was question number two?  When does the Philip Goldson [International Airport reopen?]  And I was shocked to see that it was a fifty-fifty split in that specific question.  Fifty percent said yes, let’s open in July and fifty percent said no, let’s open later which was spread over August to December.  But the second question there in which eighty-eight percent of the members are in agreement, so you‘re jumping from fifty-fifty to eighty-eight percent of the members in agreement, saying that you know what, we are ready to open the border once the right safeguards are in place.  We need to have these protocols, we need to have these systems, we need to have these plans in place upon the arrival of these tourists, you know.  And that is where I believe people are not looking at what the survey really represents, that should be the focus, you know.  Let‘s look at it right now, we have different plans being developed right now.  We have different guidelines and protocols in development, one with a national perspective under the Ministry of tourism, one with a stakeholder perspective on restaurants, hotels, tour operators and transportation by the B.T.B.   We understand that it will be made available very soon before the end of the month and then before the end of the month they should submitted it to the National Oversight Committee for them to review and put their stamp of approval. So once we have that in place they have to go through a process or sensitization period.  Stakeholders have to be involved, informed of what those guidelines will be and we have to trust them that they will do the right thing.”


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