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