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Jun 30, 2022

Tour and Tender Operators Countrywide Receive Fuel Subsidy from G.O.B.

A few months ago, the Belize Tourism Board announced that a fuel subsidy program would be established for those in the tour operator and tender business. Today, the B.T.B. handed out those vouchers to the owners and operators of those companies that cater to cruise and overnight visitors. News Five’s Marion Ali was present at the House of Culture and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

As part of its effort to safeguard the livelihoods of those who rely on transporting visitors, tour and tender operators today received some much-anticipated relief in the form of food vouchers and fuel cards. It is government’s way of reducing the shock of soaring fuel prices globally and its impact on those in tourism whose bread and butter is tours. Representing the Ministry of Finance at the event was Lincoln Blake, the Director of the Investment Police and Compliance Unit in the office of the Prime Minister.


Lincoln Blake

Lincoln Blake, Dir., Investment Policy & Compliance Unit

“The increased cost of acquisition of fuel has affected Belize’s wider economy apart from transportation costs. What we saw was at the end of the period an increase in inflation of four point nine percent in 2021. And that inflation is projected to increase to five point two percent by the end of 2022.”


But Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler, explained that it was not easy to get his colleagues to agree to the one point five million-dollar subsidy.


Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism

“I prepared a Cabinet paper and took it to Cabinet. They said we couldn’t do anything at that time. So, I doubled back and I became more aggressive in my approach with regards to the help for the industry, and thankfully, my colleagues in Cabinet saw the reality. They could feel the reality and we devised a plan to help the country and the main sectors using transportation with some support.”


BTB’s Director of Quality Management, Abil Castaneda, explained that the fuel subsidy covers thirteen point five percent of what the beneficiaries consume to conduct business.

Abil Castaneda

Abil Castaneda, Director, Quality Management, BTB
“Out of the three hundred and fifty tour operators that we have countrywide, what we did was submit an application process in April and May, which all of the tour operators that are participating in this program applied. As a part of that application process, they had to provide us information in terms of their consumption levels – their past consumption levels and future consumption levels and we used that to establish a formula in terms of what the ration of the fuel subsidy would be. There is a minimum subsidy that is provided to tour operators – a cap of five hundred dollars and then based on your consumption, you would go up to whatever that is, in terms of the formula.”


Two of the beneficiaries of the fuel subsidy, Thomas Tillett and John Pollard indicated that the relief will go a long way in helping their businesses to carry on.


Thomas Tillett

Thomas Tillett, Tour Operator

“The rising fuel prices is not isolated to Belize, but is a worldwide challenge that nation states are grappling to try to deal with. I must say from day one that Minister, you committed to delivering such relief. I never doubted you.”


John Pollard

John Pollard, Tour Operator

“While we are still under this pandemic, we as tour operators and boat owners are struggling to get back on our feet. Never before has fuel been offered to tour operators and boat owners in Belize, never before. This offer is going to be given to us for the next five months. Free fuel, I should say.”


Marion Ali For News Five


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