Tropic Air is reportedly terminating 2/3 of its employees
We've been reporting heavily on domestic tourism - but while it is a welcome help to struggling hotels and resorts, it's not enough to keep major tourist enterprises afloat in the toughest times this industry has ever seen.
And that's why - with no fixed date for international tourism to resume - layoffs in the tourism sector are expected to increase this going into June.
One of the hardest hit is Tropic Air. With 400 employees, it's one of the biggest private employers in Belize, and had been keeping on its full staff throughout the COVID crisis - with pay cuts. The company did this - despite the volume of flights dropping by 100% for a month, and now running at less than 5% of what it used to be. Sources say Tropic - which used to fly close to 200 flights a day - is down to 5 or less daily.
And, reports tonight are that the company can take the losses no more - it is laying off 220 employees - before the end of the month. And, sources tell us these are not short term or new workers - many of them have been working at Tropic for decades. They will now be paid off for their years of service - and sent home - in the hopes that if and when the company makes a resurgence they will be re-hired.
And while this is a massive blow to the industry - it could be the start of a trend where big tourism employers can simply no longer afford to hold unto staff when there is no definite resumption date for tourism.
The government has said it will not re-open the airport to visitors until it can get access to reliable rapid tests or so-called immunity passports.Channel 7