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#192135 - 03/23/06 03:00 PM Hmmm... Interesting~
NYgal Offline
Ch 7:

Central Bank Gov.: Airport Is Breaking the Law

Everyday, hundreds of visitors who leave Belize from the Phillip Goldson International Airport are forced to pay their US$36.50 departure fee in U.S. dollars. Belizeans can still pay in Belize dollars but visitors are told they must pay in U.S. dollars. It's a regulation that's caused some concern for travelers, many who have e mailed us complaining that the practice leaves them stuck with Belize dollars. Well, today at a press briefing on the budget, the Governor of the Central Bank, Belize's monetary authority said it's wrong, it shouldn't continue and he'll do what he can to stop it.

Sydney Campbell, Central Bank Governor
"I've heard of it and we are in the process of trying to talk to these people to try to make sure that no undue harassment is done to people when they are trying to leave Belize because it would a negative side for us in the international press. If a tourist comes into Belize and sells his foreign exchange to the official system and ends up with Belize dollars, then he has the right then to pay his exit tax with Belize dollars because he has given it to the system already. There are areas where people can argue legitimately that, 'I came in and I complied with the law; I sold it to the banking system, I have an official receipt to say that I've sold it to the system, then how could you ask me to pay the departure other than in Belize dollars which is the proceeds from the sale of the hard currency I brought in.' So that issue I know will be one we have to resolve."

Jules Vasquez,
Isn't it true that Belize dollars is legal tender in Belize because, you can pay it in one cents if you want.

Sydney Campbell,
"Indeed the legal tender is the Belize currency true."

Jules Vasquez,
And you should be able to use it in all transactions.

Sydney Campbell,
"Yes very true. I will make sure we look into it and try to have some resolution to the problem but it is a matter we'll make sure we explore try and put some system in place to ensure that if the practice is not in sync with what is required in Belize, it is discontinued."

Airport Chief Executive Officer Pablo Espat today told us that the airport management and ownership have been forced to make the collection in U.S. dollars because of a dispute with American Airlines. Because the airport has foreign loan obligations in U.S. dollars, it asked all the airlines which include the departure fees into the ticket price, to simply pass that money unto them in U.S. dollars. Well, all agreed, except American which, it appears, would prefer to hold on to the U.S. dollars and pay the airport management in Belize dollars, even if the money was collected in the name of the airport.

Well, that didn't work and the only compromise was that American would stop including the fee in its ticket prices and the airport would do its own collection, in U.S. dollars. Espat says that if Governor Campbell changes that, it will make life harder for the airport management and for the Central Bank because it would then have to find the foreign exchange for the airport to service its debt.

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#192136 - 03/23/06 03:37 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
JDTremblay Offline
So tell me are we going to have to Pay $36.50 USD X 2 to leave the country or what ( our tickets are with american airlines)
_________________________
J D Tremblay
Southern Illinois University Press
Phone 618-453-6634
Fax 618-453-3787
tremblay@siu.edu

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#192137 - 03/23/06 03:43 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
sweetjane Offline
IMO, if i were you, i would be prepared to pay in us dollars. ask if you can use your leftover bz's, but have USD available just in case.

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#192138 - 03/23/06 03:48 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
NYgal Offline
We did...but...we asked American in advance if our tickets had the exit fee paid and they replied "No, you will pay the exit fee."

We were prepared.

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#192139 - 03/23/06 04:11 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
Teenah Offline
I flew American this last trip and never had to pay. I figured it was added into my plane ticket. Did I just luck out or what?

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#192140 - 03/23/06 04:22 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
NYgal Offline
interesting......

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#192141 - 03/23/06 04:22 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
Barbara K Offline
Theoretically tix issued before Oct 05 had the dept tax included for most airlines. But it has been wildly inconsistent lately. Best to have the USD on you to pay it and if not collected, then you'll have cash when you get home.
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#192142 - 03/23/06 04:30 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
Amanda Syme Offline
Now you guys do realize that there is an exit tax (departure tax) to leave the United States of America too, right?

Often times these taxes are included in your airline tickets, but sometimes they aren't. If you buy from a travel agent they deal with all of the little bits and pieces for you, but if you buy direct from the airline, or these on-line cheap ticket places, the tickets seem cheaper because they don't always have all of the add-ons - that you still have to pay!

Oh, and if you are stuck with Belize dollars, either save them for your next trip, or maybe donate to the red cross. I know I've seen collection boxes at the airport.

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#192143 - 03/23/06 04:38 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
captjeff Offline
just left tues they charged $31 .25 in us dollars. at the immigration counter ,and yes flew american airlines ..
_________________________
Living The Dream Every Day!

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#192144 - 03/23/06 06:52 PM Re: Hmmm... Interesting~
Sun&sand Offline
We always fly AA, and this past trip, were asked to pay the fee, and we did, with BZ money. We asked why they would all of a sudden accept BZ money, and were told that if you have exact amount, BZ money was OK. Otherwise, you had to give American money, and change given was in American money. Go figure..???
_________________________
Live so that when you arise in the A.M, Satan shudders & says..
'Oh sh t..she's awake!'

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