Dear BTIA Members,

At his press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that effective Monday, October 19th, a number of restrictions affecting returning Belizeans and tourists would be eliminated or modified. The Statutory Instrument provides for the ending of quarantine requirements for those testing negative for COVID-19 at the airport, greater freedom of movement for foreign visitors, and expansion of seating capacity for restaurants. Other amendments include streamlining the entrance procedure for those traveling to Belize. In his remarks, the PM recognized the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) as playing a pivotal role in initiating these changes.

On September 21st, the BTIA issued a letter to the National Oversight Committee (NOC), asking that body to rethink the assumptions behind its policies in view of the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic both locally and internationally. In explaining his new approach, the Prime Minister emphasized that common sense must prevail in the reopening of the tourism industry and that steps must be taken to better enhance the health of ALL those present in Belize, whether they live here or are visiting. This includes a major campaign to enforce existing mask-wearing and social distancing rules throughout the country.

The BTIA applauds the efforts of the NOC and hopes that the pandemic-induced regulations remain under constant review with an eye to promoting a positive experience for our foreign guests and a return to full employment for those enterprises that host them. We believe that the nationís health and economic recovery are not mutually exclusive and that by the public and private sectors working together, the Belizean economy can be restored, reinvigorated, and made more resilient.

We will forward the amended Statutory Instrument as soon as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

A message from the Executive Committee and the Secretariat