Minister of Tourism: Fuel Prices “Crushing,” and Must be Addressed
The high cost of living, coupled with the inflation that has accompanied COVID, have affected everyone’s pocket, but particularly bedeviled the people who have lost all or part of their income. When he met with the media on Monday, Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler said measures are being taken to address not only inflation, but also rising fuel costs. He said that price controls can be put in place for certain food items, and, as we alluded last week, the government can reduce its taxes on fuel.
Anthony Mahler, Tourism Minister
“Every week I take another product to Cabinet and I stick it in front of my microphone and I say (the price on) this has gone up by this much, so much so that triggered off an assessment done by the Bureau of Standards. I know you say that they don’t have the resources, but they did a thorough review of certain items and they’re coming up with a plan to address this issue because it is a combination of global prices; the supply chain has been affected by COVID and other issues but some of the local retailers are also increasing and price gouging and we know that, and so the Bureau of Standards is working on a program right now to address this. The cost of fuel is crushing right now; it’s twelve dollars or something like that and that is a serious, serious problem for any tourism business, or any business in the productive sector. It is crucial that we address this in a reasonable way, but a lot of it is out of our – in fact, if you go back and look at what also caused the great recession in 2007-2008, you will see that the high fuel prices also aided to the housing meltdown and I know it is crushing right now for a lot of Belizeans – for all of us – to pay twelve dollars a gallon for fuel.”
Minister of Tourism provides update from the Industry Anthony Mahler – Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations
Minister of Tourism on Balancing COVID Safety and Viable Business
On Monday, Tourism Minister, Anthony Mahler told News Five the outlook for Belize’s tourism industry is promising, with more flights and cruise ships beginning to call at our points of entry. But because COVID is in our midst and can quickly turn life upside down, steps have to be taken to balance safety and livelihoods. He says he recently got a regional perspective as well.
Anthony Mahler, Tourism Minister
“There’s a huge difference between being open nine and ten and eleven if you’re a food and beverage operator, if you’re a bar, restaurant. So, I understand the frustration from that standpoint. A lot of people are on the brink after almost eighteen months of this. You can fly into the country without being vaccinated; you can go to church, but you can’t eat. Now, Cabinet is a collective decision, so I’ll have to go with it when we meet again in Cabinet in two weeks’ time, I will present a position of the tourism industry. I meet this week with both BTIA and BHA to lay out our plan or our position as to how we would want to see the economy open up going into 2022. Last week I was in Panama for a cruise conference and I spoke to other colleagues from Central America and the Caribbean and they’re looking at serious ways on how they can reopen back their economy fully and in a safe way. So we’re having that discussion at that level.”