Tourism has been the hardest hit industry when it comes to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of dollars have been lost from the industry that once contributed up to forty percent of G.D.P.; some properties have had to close their doors for months on end or are on the verge of bankruptcy, while thousands of tourism workers have lost their employment. The Minister of Tourism spoke about consultations with both the public and private sector and a task force to help reignite the industry.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

“We have created out of those meetings is a tourism stabilization and recovery document that will be presented to cabinet sometime next week or the week after and it covers everything from airline development, marketing, training, looking at Belize as a competitive destination, the legislation that drive tourism, some stimulus plans and how just overall that we can put together the pieces that we can build tourism on our way back to one point five, one point six million in arrivals when you combine overnight and cruise.”

Making Small Grants Available for Tourism Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the tourism industry have invested their life savings into their respective businesses and a number have gone belly up. Minister Mahler speaks of help from the Inter-American Development Bank to facilitate a small grants programme.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations

“We have a small grants programme that we want to begin to unleash within the next three weeks or so that is supported by the I.D.B. and we have somewhere around two point five, maybe three, million dollars whereby we can assist the small hotel and micro enterprises within the industry to get back on track to make some necessary investment as they need. We are continuously discussing new airlifts to the country and so we are excited about a new route from Seattle and another from Mexico and hopefully those come on stream rather quickly. We are also talking to the legacy operators who have been here for a while and we are trying to get back as many routes as possible.”

Channel 5