Tourism stalwart Ian Anderson has taken a strong stance against COVID-19 by announcing his Caves Branch adventure resort will only accept reservations from fully vaccinated guests beginning October first. Anderson says he wrestled with the decision for three months, but his overriding concern for his staff made his choice clear. He spoke with Open Your Eyes hosts this morning about the new policy and the reaction from guests both international and local so far.

Ian Anderson, Owner, Ian Anderson's Caves Branch

"I think there is a very large percentage of travelers around the world that are looking for a safe environment to travel to, that's one. Two is that I am highly, highly concerned about my staff. And I think the best way that we can keep both guests to Belize and our staff safe is by taking reservations from people who have been fully vaccinated, rather than those who refuse to have a vaccination."

Marleni Cuellar

"Now, given the level of vaccine hesitancy and the population of anti-vaxxers, not just in Belize but across the world, you knew that you would get some push back for a decision like this. How'd you balance it?"

Ian Anderson

"You know if my wife was here she would be, Ella who you have all met, she'd be shaking her head right now because for the first week after making that announcement, I couldn't sleep. I was agitated. I wasn't sure exactly how my decision would was going to be accepted by the populations. But, I have been absolutely shocked, I been absolutely shocked that I been having people emailing me, posting comments on our Caves Branch website. One hundred percent, except for one comment, one hundred percent saying 'Atta boy!" "Good for the decision." "Thank you for being bold and taking the stance!" "We'll be there because of this. And I am shocked that its such a positive response from our guests."

Ian Anderson was also one of the first to offer local specials for Belizean guests when international arrivals were curtailed in the early days of the pandemic.

Channel 5