The Center for Disease Control, better known as the C.D.C., recently placed Belize at a level four. In a travel notice on its official website, the C.D.C. says that travellers should avoid all travel to Belize because it may “increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.” The designation flies in the face of efforts to resuscitate the tourism industry, which had been shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic. G.O.B. and many resorts and hotels have invested millions of dollars into becoming gold standard ready and the warning puts a damper on the potential inflows of the much needed tourism dollar. Today, Tourism Minister Anthony Mahler spoke about the concerns.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism

“Stage four has been put on multiple destinations because COVID-19 is rampant all over the world so like everybody is compared to the same level other than Barbados. But this will definitely help to deal with the crisis at hand. And when we talk to the counterparts at the U.S. we will say, we are putting these things in place, let’s have a discussion about those advisories. It does put us a step back, but we are working on getting pass that.”

Tourism Strategy Going Forward with COVID-19

Minister Mahler says that he and his team have been looking at the strategy to keep international tourists coming in, but strict COVID-19 protocols must remain in place to ensure the safety of the country and its visitors.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism

“We have to be responsible as a nation. Eighty-two percent of the calls coming in to our 1-800-number is about COVID-19; what is the situation in Belize with regards to COVID-19. As a people, we have to be responsible, we have to social distance, we have to wear a mask; we have to abide by the rules and regulations that we’ve set in place. So it is critical that as a people, we do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19 and then will people feel that it is safe, you will see the numbers go up. It is a very fluid situation. We started with two flights a day—one flight two flight—and in December and January, we are looking at ten fifteen flights a day already. But like I said, it is fluid; the spike in the U.S. has created some issue for us as well, the spike in Belize. And so, it is almost on a day by day basis; yes the flight is coming, no the flight isn’t coming; that type of thing.”

Channel 5