Do not forget to keep wearing your mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly. Also, stay home and avoid gatherings.
Travelers planning to visit Belize in 2020-2021 can choose from a new schedule of year-round, non-stop flights offered by American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines. Beginning Oct. 1, Belize will welcome non-stop flights from Miami (via American Airlines) and Houston (via United Airlines). Similarly, Delta Airlines will resume flights on Nov. 20 with non-stop service from Atlanta. The restoration of direct-flight service enables visitors to get to Belize in approximately three hours or less.
All travelers are required to follow new arrival and departure processes to enter and leave the country, all of which are available on https://www.travelbelize.org/health-safety. As the situation continues to remain fluid, these protocols are subject to change. For questions or concerns, contact the BTB at Tel 227-2420 for via email at [email protected]
Belize Officially Reopens International Airport to Leisure Travel
Belize officially reopened the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) today welcoming back inbound leisure travel for international visitors, with approved hotels and tour operators only. PGIA has been closed since late march due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The first weekend of operation is expected to be a busy one. American Airlines returns with a full flight (72 passengers) on Thursday, and United Airlines makes its commercial return on Friday with 177 passengers. American Airlines will provide service to Belize Thursday through Monday, while United will fly Friday through Sunday. Full flights are expected from both airlines throughout the weekend. Foreign tourist traffic is anticipated to climb as we near our traditional ‘high season’ in November and the latter part of 2020.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
Belize Reopens To The World Once Again After Long COVID-19 Lockdown
It has been a little over six months since Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport was closed to tourists and Belizeans as a measure in the fight against COVID-19. The areas hardest hit have be top tourist destinations of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Most of the hardships that came with the lockdown are expected to go way as the international airport reopens today, October 1, 2020.
Belize reopens to travelers with limited flights on United, American, and Avianca. All travelers will be required to test negative for COVID-19 - with the option to present a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or be tested at the airport for $50 - and may only stay at approved Gold Standard Hotels (list here) and use services of approved Gold Standard Tour Operators (list here).
Hotels are reopening in phases, and the first set of approved hotels that will be open October 1 are those that provide full service and amenities for guests, including airport transport, isolated tours, pool or beach access, and in-house restaurants or food delivery. Travelers will not be able to move freely throughout the country during this initial phase, and will be restricted to “safe corridors” that include their hotels and hotel-run excursions only. Social distancing and masks are required in public.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the Ambergris Today
***AN ACCOUNT FROM A LEISURE TRAVELER ONBOARD 1ST PLANE TO BELIZE THIS MORNING***
"Belize is reopening the airport today! We are SUPER excited to be on the first flight into Belize! Can’t wait to see the El Pescador family, white sand, the Caribbean Sea + bonefish, tarpon and permit!
We are waiting for the 1st leg of our flight - excellent social distancing and everyone is wearing a mask. All passengers and airport employees are friendly, and polite (which is saying a lot for being so early in the morning."
The Philip Goldson International Airport Successfully Reopens
October 1st, 2020 ushered in a positive start to the phased re-opening of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) by welcoming 82 arrivals. This successful opening was made possible by efforts across the public and private sector to prioritize the safety of those arriving and those on the ground welcoming passengers to Belize.
The Ministry of Health confirmed that there were no positive COVID-19 test results. Nonetheless, Belizeans, permanent residents and all others heading into the community are expected to self-quarantine at home for 10 days and are strongly encouraged to wear masks, maintain social distancing of six feet where possible, regularly wash hands, refrain from touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and carefully disinfect and regularly wipe down all shared surfaces for their safety and the safety of those around them.
Persons planning to enter Belize by air via the PGIA must:
It should be noted that in this third reopening phase that other than cargo, land and sea ports of entry remain closed to travellers at this time. Therefore, persons needing to enter or depart Belize via Benque Viejo del Carmen or Corozal must continue to obtain clearance via [email protected] to coordinate their safe transit.
This marks an important moment in Belize’s efforts to encourage economic re-growth while safeguarding the health of all Belizeans and visitors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It seemed like today - everyone in Belize was holding their breaths -
waiting for that big exhale of the airport opening and overnight
It's been a long and hard 6 months of suffering for tens of thousands
of laid off tourism workers and owners as the country's greatest single
economic engine slammed the COVID brake in March.
And now, as it re-starts, the world has changed completely: Belize is
deep into its own COVID fight, as it welcomes tourists from the USA who
are trying to escape the most heavily COVID infected country on earth.
And so, today, we met in the middle - at the crossroads of needing a
break - and needing an economic jump start.
How did it go?
Cherisse Halsall was waiting by the arrival doors to find out just how
a post-pandemic visit to Belize starts out.
The P.G.I.A's first commercial flight since March 23rd, touched down just
before 11 this morning.
The airport pulled out all the stops to welcome the arrivals. And, as the
plane taxied to a stop it was flanked by two fire trucks with water cannons
at the ready.
It was a celebratory shower, a symbol of the nation's joy. But it didn't
stop there because as they deplaned passengers were treated to another warm
welcome provided by exuberant Garifuna dancers
After that, it was into the safe corridor for the new 7 checkpoint system
for entry into Belize.
And from the airside to the outside, once they got out of the arrival
lounge, most passengers seem undaunted and even excited for everything
Belize has to offer.
"Mr Parker how excited are you to be able to return to Belize?"
Glenn Parker - Tourist
"I've never been here before so I'm so excited to be here with Katherine
and I, this is our first time to Belize and we love Belize."
"So, were you nervous coming to this destination at a time like this?"
"Absolutely not, I know how hard your people are working and how hard the
Ministry of Health is working, and we felt completely comfortable after
doing the research on the internet."
"So, what are you expecting from this vacation?"
"So, what's been your perception of Belize during this time and our
Jim Orby - Long Stay Visitor
"I think this actually went very smoothly. It was a lot smoother than I
anticipated, they handled it very well, I think. I'm excited to be on this
side of customs and ready to go enjoy my trip."
And for the Belizeans in the crowd it was less excitement and more relief
be able to come home to their loved ones.
"What's the purpose of returning?"
Belizean American returnee
"To spend time with my family, I miss them and you know go from there."
"So, what was the process like coming through the airport?"
Belizean American returnee
"It was long, we went through a lot of protocols but it's all necessary and
you know, I guess it's all necessary."
"But now, so when COVID hit did you already have plans to come back to
Desiree Ramos Mitchell - Belizean American returnee
"Yeah I was supposed to come back for my birthday in May, I was supposed to
come back for my first-year anniversary in August and now I'm here today."
"Who are you being reunited with?"
Desiree Ramos Mitchell
"With my husband, when I can find him."
"I really missed home and I just had to be back, and the welcoming was
wow!, really blew me out."
"So why choose to come home at this time?"
Ann Sandoval - Belizean American returnee
"Family, family you've got to be close with the family and got to
appreciate life, yeah there's so many things happening and many people are
not being able to spend time with their families so we just want to live
life and be home and be with the family."
But the P.G.I.A wasn't the final stop for all passengers; many were
transferred via Maya and Tropic flights to their southern and island
destinations - resuscitating the domestic air industry.
But whether they came for adventure or comfort, their arrival in Belize was
some measure of mid-pandemic relief, even if it is with a glass partition.
Giving rise to some hope that while tourism may not be hands on anymore, it
can still be all heart.
Today was day two of the re-opened international airport and a big test for all the agencies screening the passengers. That's because two flights arrived - one shortly after the other - and most of them didn't bring PCR tests.
7News was pressed up against the steel mesh in the waving gallery to see how it went. Here's the story:
Two flights arrived at the PGIA today - one American Airlines from Miami and one United from Houston, a total of 220 passengers. We haven't gotten the breakdown of how many of today's 220 passengers were tourists - but yesterday only about 20% of them were visitors.
It's the biggest crowd the airport has seen in months - and the biggest test for the new screening protocols.
The flights arrived one hour apart but they managed to clear one flight out before the other arrived:
Misty Michael, BTB Director of Marketing & Industry Relations "Both of them did arrived slightly earlier than scheduled, but the flow has been working really well. There are some areas that we recognized do need some tweaking to allow for a more efficient flow, but apart from that passengers have not been complaining about the process."
The process was slower today because many of the travellers did not have PCR tests:
Misty Michael "What happened today a lot of passengers did not come with their PCR test, but if they did come with a PCR, they were in a category that requires them to be tested on arrival, so there are quite a few passengers that are waiting for their test results, but from our estimates they are taking about 20-25 minutes for their results to be provided back to them. Yesterday it was about 20-25 minutes for passengers to get their results back and they are being rapid tested. One important thing to note all of the passengers that arrived yesterday were negative."
They were tested by these folks with SD biosensor rapid test. Travellers have adjusted expectations and seemed to be coming out not too miffed at the delays.
Misty Michael "Well eyesterdsay was primarily Belizeans or permanent residents, who were coming to stay long term. Tourist: we only had a little bit under 30 passengers yesterday that were in that tourist category that are coming in to travel within the safe corridor, but BTB has also put a new hospitality team here at the airport and they been basically in charge with ensuring that visitors feel welcomed, helping them through the arrival process in making sure that they understand what is going to be like when they travel through the safe corridor."
And while the departure hall remained basically empty and this departure restaurant on the upper deck had zero customers the airport felt, looked and sounded alive downstairs.
Misty Michael "It's definitely excited to see the airport with this level of activity again. Tourists that did come in yesterday were really excited - the first one off the plane was extremel;y excited that he was the first tourists back in Belize since the lockdown, so yes people are excited."
Now, if only the tourists could arrive as fast as these drums beat - all would be well.
Misty Michael "We are still technically in the slow season and we do anticipate that as the month go on and we get into Novermber and December are high season will pick up and will definately see bigger number arriving."
And as the pounding drums ricocheted across the parking lot - The hope now is that they can hear them all the way in Houston and Miami because Belize is back open for business and for those who depend on it for their livelihood, there's no better news than that.
Of the 220 passengers who arrived today - all tested negative for COVID 19.
As you heard, 82 arrived yesterday and all of them were negative as well.
Belizeans, permanent residents and all others heading into the community are expected to self-quarantine at home for 10 days and observe all COVID prevention measures.
The San Pedro Sun owners document their return travel process to Belize
Owners of The San Pedro Sun documented their return to Belize after flights to the country were repeatedly canceled since mid-May. Closed on March 23rd, the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) finally opened on October 1st. On October 3rd, Ron and Tamara Sniffin were excited to return to Belize and document their experience, including advice to future travelers.