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BTIA Tells PM Cut the Tourist Red Tape At Airport #545066
09/23/20 04:38 AM
09/23/20 04:38 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

The BTIA is pushing for much more relaxation in regulations.

In a letter to the national oversight committee dated yesterday, the Belize Tourism Industry Association says that all the stringent protocols in place for travel to Belize may deter tourists from even considering to come to Belize.

The BTIA gave a synopsis of the coronavirus outbreak and the impact in Belize in the last 6 months. The release then goes on to list a number of questions to consider along with recommendations. Some of those questions include:

  • -With the state of Belize's daily new infection rate is there more of a danger from international tourists infecting Belizeans or Belizeans infecting tourists?
  • -If Belizeans are at least as likely as tourists to be infected with COVID-19, why are we testing every visitor but leaving the vast majority of Belizeans untested?
  • - By insisting on a complex set of protocols to even get into the country, might we be needlessly discouraging most tourists from even trying to visit Belize?
  • - Why is it that Belizean hotel guests staying at the Gold Standard hotels as foreign tourists are allowed to come and go as they please, travel countrywide unsupervised and socialize with anyone of their choosing while the visitors are confined to their hotels?

The BTIA recommends to the National Oversight Committee that the arrival process at the PGIA should be simplified: If a visitor arrives with a negative test they are processed through immigration or given a rapid test upon arrival with results given on-the-spot or sent to the visitor or hotel. International visitors who are confirmed to be COVID-free should be allowed full freedom of movement around the country but require them to abide by the same COVID-19 health and safety protocols (and, if applicable, quarantine protocols) that Belizeans are mandated to follow. All tourism services providers should be required to meet the requirements for gold standard certification in order to operate freely. Lastly, a major campaign to enforce existing mask wearing and social distance rules for ALL people in country should be implemented. No discrimination - locals and tourists alike. The release ends by saying "We respectfully suggest that now is the time to re-examine our strategy. The above-listed recommendations are submitted with that in mind." We will update you as soon as the Prime Minister and or the NOC responds.

Channel 7


Re: BTIA Tells PM Cut the Tourist Red Tape At Airport [Re: Marty] #545088
09/24/20 04:18 AM
09/24/20 04:18 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,624
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

BTIA Wants tourist Red Tape Rolled Back

Last night, we told you about the letter that the Belize Tourism Industry Association sent to Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Independence Day. In it, they are asking him, the National Oversight Committee, and the Government to reconsider all the restrictions that international tourists will face next week Thursday when the Philip Goldson International Airport is reopened.

For months, we've been telling you about the strict COVID protocols that all visitors will have to observe. But, the BTIA is publicly asking whether it is time to reconsider all the red-tape.

They reason that the virus is already here and that the tourists are just as likely to catch it from Belizeans, as they are likely to bring it into the country. Secondly, they say that our tourism industry is competing for tourists with other regional tourism powerhouses, and all that red tape will make the Belize package less attractive.

This evening, we spoke via teleconference with 2 senior personalities from the BTIA about their concerns for the tourist experience starting next Thursday. Here's how they put it:

John Burgos - Executive Director, BTIA
"When these protocols, strategies, and standards were developed, they were developed in June/July, when the COVID-19 situation in Belize was very well under control. And at the time, that is what led to what we thought would be the best approach in terms of recovering the tourism industry and creating economic activity for all tourism stakeholders. So, that's the key thing that people need to understand. We have seen what has happened in Belize since August, and we have seen that the SI's keep coming every other week, with new updates, new things being implemented. But, I think that they're not being looked at the way they should. I think their views are a little bit outdated. I think we really have to look at what are we trying to achieve with those standards, and those protocols. Who are we protecting? If a tourist who doesn't have COVID-19 comes into the country, he's going to be exposed to COVID-19 in Belize. And he could put himself at risk just by coming to Belize. So, we're saying that some of the arrival protocols need to be reviewed with an objective mind."

Stuart Krohn - 2nd VP, BTIA
"The airlift initially coming into Belize is going to be very small, only maybe 2 flights a day. So, let's say there's going to be a hundred bonafide tourists that come into the country every day."

"So, at any given time, you'll have 400 tourists, at least for October and November. At any given time, 400 tourists in the country, most of those tourists would have arrived with a negative PCR test, or be tested at the airport. At the same, you have 400,000 Belizeans who, for the most part, have not been tested. So, 400,000 vs. 400. So, why are we focusing all these resources on 400 people who are the least risky people to have in your country?"

John Burgos
"We have to recognize what is the Belize experience. We have to recognize that we're competing regionally and globally to attract tourists into Belize. We are hanging on by a threat, a very thin thread that cannot be sustained."

"The process of coming into Belize as a tourist, why are we making it so complicated? I think it is easy. I think the recommendation we're making is very easy. We're just trying to say listen, if the person tests, or brings a negative test, they should be allowed freedom of travel, and then they should be able to abide by all the laws that our local population is abiding by. Why do you want the hotels and resorts to serve as a prison? Because that's basically what it is. The moment they tell you [that] you cannot take a walk down the beach in Hopkins, Placencia, in Caye Caulker, or in San Pedro, you're basically telling me you're a prisoner. You can only go on tour. That's it. You come back, and then, you stay here."

"Looking at what we're implementing right now, let me tell you, what we're implementing right now is not going to motivate anyone to choose Belize as a tourist destination."

Among other suggestions, the BTIA is recommending that the arrival process at the PGIA should be simplified. If a visitor arrives with a negative test, they are processed through immigration or given a rapid test upon arrival with results given on-the-spot or sent to the visitor or hotel. International visitors who are confirmed to be COVID-free should be allowed full freedom of movement around the country, but they should be required to abide by the same COVID-19 health and safety protocols that Belizeans are mandated to follow.

Channel 7


Re: BTIA Tells PM Cut the Tourist Red Tape At Airport [Re: Marty] #545094
09/24/20 04:49 AM
09/24/20 04:49 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,624
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
[Linked Image]

BTB’s “Safety Corridor” measures raise concern among industry stakeholders

On the evening of September 22nd, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announced Phase Three of the country’s re-opening plan, which includes a measure to manage the transmission of COVID-1. The BTB issued a press release detailing a number of guidelines, including those to be followed by tourists when visiting the country. Titled ‘Safety Corridor Process Flow Guidelines,’ the press release detailed the process that foreign visitors must go through from the moment they arrive until their departure. Some of these mandate that tourists be confined to their hotel property and could be fined for breaching this mandatory confinement.

According to BTB’s Phase Three temporary measure, when tourists/visitors arrive in Belize, they will receive a golden wristband with the words ‘Welcome to Belize.’ This will make it easy to identify them as visitors while in the country. Their pre-booked accommodation must be a certified ‘Gold Standard Hotel’ by BTB, and they are to be transported from the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) by approved transportation, in the case for Ambergris Caye and other destinations via one of the local airlines.

At the time of check-in, guests will be subject to a temperature scan, and their unique ID from the Health App will be logged. The fact that guests will not be allowed to leave their hotels requires Gold Standard Hotels to promote and plan scheduled activities to guarantee visitors a Belizean experience. Hotels are to provide all services needed by the guest, including entertainment (cultural presentations, live performances), swimming pools, and restaurants onsite. If the guests want to order food from a restaurant outside of the property, it will be delivered to the hotel following strict safety protocols. Meanwhile, only tours with accredited Gold Standard Tour Operators can be booked through the hotel.

The BTB’s release stated that any guest found outside of their Gold Standard Hotel without the presence of an approved tour operator would violate their regulations. The note continued saying that such persons must be reported to the police immediately. Penalty for such breach will be levied on the guests, the hotel, and even employees. The San Pedro Sun reached out to the BTB to elaborate on the penalties, but they mentioned that it is a topic that is still under discussion.

The BTIA suggested to the Prime Minister that the arrival process at the PGIA should be simplified. In other words, if a visitor arrives with a negative test they are processed through immigration just like normal or given a rapid test upon arrival, with results given on-the-spot or sent to the visitor or hotel. The need for downloading the health app was questioned in the note, and the government was asked to allow international visitors, who are confirmed COVID-19 free, full freedom of movement around the country.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

================

Please join us today, Thursday, September 24th on the Love FM Morning Show at 7am and on Open Your Eyes at 8am as we discuss BTIA’s official letter with recommendations presented to PM and NOC to review the current protocols in place to attract tourists and to recover the tourism industry.

Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA)

==================

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Re: BTIA Tells PM Cut the Tourist Red Tape At Airport [Re: Marty] #545102
09/24/20 10:37 AM
09/24/20 10:37 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,624
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Today's Open Your Eyes at 8am where we discuss BTIA’s official letter with recommendations presented to PM and NOC to review the current protocols in place to attract tourists and to recover the tourism industry. With Melanie Paz and John Burgos.

Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA)

Begins at 1hr33min45seconds


Re: BTIA Tells PM Cut the Tourist Red Tape At Airport [Re: Marty] #545115
09/25/20 04:33 AM
09/25/20 04:33 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 69,624
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP

DHS To BTIA, Landing Tourists Is a Learning Process

We've told you about the letter form the Belize tourism Industry Association to the Prime Minister. They are asking him to simplify the arrival process at the PGIA for visitors.

They ask:

-With the state of Belize's daily new infection rate is there more of a danger from international tourists infecting Belizeans or Belizeans infecting tourists?

-If Belizeans are at least as likely as tourists to be infected with COVID-19, why are we testing every visitor but leaving the vast majority of Belizeans untested?

- By insisting on a complex set of protocols to even get into the country, might we be needlessly discouraging most tourists from even trying to visit Belize?

  • Why is it that Belizean hotel guests staying at the Gold Standard hotels as foreign tourists are allowed to come and go as they please, travel countrywide unsupervised and socialize with anyone of their choosing while the visitors are confined to their hotels?

Today, Dr Marvin Manzanero said the NOC did review those requests:

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, DHS

"Yes, I got a copy of that letter and it was taken to NOC yesterday. I managed to send a couple of those to Mr. Burgos, I saw the 4 asks that they had from my vantage point. I don't know that one or two are entirely true because making it seem as the protocol has been unchanged and that is not the case, it has been changing as we go along. I don't know that you can make it a free for all yet because it's still going to be a learning process once the airport opens. If middle of October you have a rapid test that has a highly sensitive, highly specific nature and it give you a turnaround time of 5 minutes, fine you go and work with it and that becomes your new protocol. Ideally you want to make it a smooth process for everybody, but I don't know that you can do it so quickly without having some level of built in measures to try to keep this under control. I think it's a learning process."

Channel 7



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