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Aug 3, 2021

Tour Guide Questions Vaccination Policies for Visitors

We are only just beginning the month of August and there are already concerns among tour guides over what they feel is unfair treatment compared to the tourists they escort around Belize. In fact, some tour operators say visitors have more freedom than they do. One spokesman appeared on Channel Five’s Open your Eyes this morning. Marion Ali followed up his concerns today. 


Marion Ali, Reporting

President of the Belize Local Association of Stakeholders in Tourism or BLAST, Nickoli Alvarado, says their membership feels that the new COVID regulations have placed undue pressure on them to take the vaccine.  And they all have to present vaccination cards to enter tourism sites while their unvaccinated passengers are allowed to enter without any such requirements. He believes keeping the regulations as stringent as they were before is still needed to keep Belize’s COVID numbers low.


Nickoli Alvarado

Nickoli Alvarado, President, BLAST

“Belize is the only country that tourists can come unvaccinated – just come into the country. I don’t have to present no test; whichin’ it doesn’t matter if they’re coming negative or positive because the vaccination still doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID. So, they could be bringing the vaccination although they’re vaccinated. So I think how they had it set up first with presenting a negative before coming into the country, that should have been kept and the cases would have been down because you don’t know if it’s the vaccinated people who are bringing the virus. We could take their temperature, yes, but they could meet someone the day before coming into the airport and they don’t show any symptoms.”


Alvarado said another concern that guides have is that even though they are vaccinated, they are still at risk of catching COVID from tourists they take on so- called “bubble” tours.


Nickoli Alvarado

“The same guide he could be vaccinated but before he goes on a tour he’s socializing with all the other guides that are out at the cruise port. He’s still socializing with all the other guides so if he is carrying a bus load of guests who are unvaccinated and then comes home to his family, he doesn’t know what those guests brought with them.”


Alvarado also contends that Belize is the only country in this region that does not require vaccinated tourists to provide negative COVID test results upon entering the country. News Five contacted C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism, Nicole Solano today to try and get clarification on the requirements at the tourism sites. She says she is awaiting clarification. We await the Ministry response tomorrow.  Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

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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