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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The head of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Steward Krohn, said that the Belizean hotels have proved very resilient during the pandemic and very few have had to close down. He says one of the positive aspects has also been the increase in local Belizean traffic to destinations within the country, a trend he hopes will continue even when the land borders reopen.

Stewart Krohn, President, BTIA

You have not seen many places go out of business. The statistics that Ted was referring to, some of the hotels that have not come back, it's a little bit deceiving because a lot of those hotels may have been Air B&B type operations that are technically registered as hotels, but they're really not significant hotels. Also, the comeback has been good. But, I'd like to point out one of the real major stories during the pandemic was the shift of our local residence towards vacationing in Belize. Of course, because the borders were closed for a long time, and particularly the land borders, which are still close, Belizeans vacationed locally in record numbers, and I would like to congratulate them for patronizing our own tourist properties. And hopefully, now that Belizeans have seen the wonders of our country, when the borders do open up eventually, they will hesitate to go back to Cancun, Playa, Chetumal, Bacalar, and stay in their country. I would comment, well look at Ted right now, he is staying at lovely Chaa Creek, and I would be eternally jealous. But, that's a good example right there."

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Despite COVID-19 challenges, tourism is bouncing back

The current high tourism season is reportedly experiencing a good reception, with many stakeholders across the country reporting one of the busiest periods since the pandemic began in 2020. Although businesswise, things may be looking better, the new COVID-19 variants are growing concern once again. With the increase in infections, potential visitors may think twice and hold off on making reservations or postpone their trips. There is also the concern to keep staff COVID-19 free. Stakeholders have been discussing better ways to deal with tourists testing positive, suggesting new ideas that would benefit both visitors and hotels.

According to Ted Tejada, former president and now a director of the Belize Hotel Association, December 2021, saw a 70% overall increase in tourism compared to 2019. He highlighted the increase in international air routes to Belize and the demand for tourism staff. To keep staff free of COVID-19, hotels and other tourism stakeholders are encouraged to randomly test their employees, even if they do not experience any symptoms. At this time, no hotels have been forced to close due to high rates of infections. While some hotels have reported one or two employees testing positive for the virus, Tejada added that guests were more infected. However, more employees could test positive in the next week or so, possibly crippling the services of hotels, restaurants, and tour companies. One particular accommodation reported up to 20 positive cases within their guests, meaning they cannot travel back to their country of origin until tested negative. Tejada explained that this could cause issues with the hotel's upcoming reservations, as some of these rooms may have been already booked. Management then needs to find additional rooms for the incoming guests. While some hotels can manage the situation when they get cancellations and have to extend the stay for the COVID-19 guests, others do not have the capacity for new customers when accommodating infected guests

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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