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Jan 31, 2022

Minister of Tourism Comments on Health Insurance Mandate for Visitors

The Belize Tourism Board’s health insurance mandate comes into effect on February fifteenth. It requires all visitors, even those with their own travel insurance, to pay eighteen dollars U.S. for coverage of up to fifty thousand U.S. dollars in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of twenty-one days. The plan will also cover lodging due to quarantine of up to two thousand U.S. dollars. Despite the low cost, the announcement of the new mandate prompted some push back from some industry stakeholders. Many were concerned only one company would benefit from the new plan. The Minister of Tourism fielded questions on this concern today. 


Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relation

“We have and we continue to work with our private sector partners. B.T.I.A. is supporting it. A lot of members of B.H.A. are supporting it. There is a group of them that don’t support it. I don’t think that everything we do will be supported in totality by the industry. But, we strive to have full transparency. We continue to discuss this issue with the industry and we think it is important because it provides a level of support in this very difficult time for especially hoteliers, because there is a cancelation component to it. So, when the Omicron hit we had a lot of cancelations and a lot of properties had to give back monies to people who would not be able come to Belize again. That created a strain on the industry. So, we created that part and we are creating a safety net for people who visit Belize if they get Omicron or any variant, or if they get into an accident. So, I think this is very timely. Like I said, there is no exclusivity to one company. There is, and I don’t believe we will keep this on forever. This will be a period where we think it is necessary. As long as COVID is behind us, this will be removed as well.”



“Why was there a need to make it a Belizean company? I hear you saying that it won’t be exclusive anymore to one company.”


Anthony Mahler

“I don’t know where you got that it was exclusive. We have opened it up, and as long as the international provider meets our requirement what we want here in Belize then they can participate here as well.”



“A lot of tourists already purchase travel insurance correct?”


Anthony Mahler

“Yes, but it doesn’t provide for the cancelation support.”

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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