B.T.B. Official: C.D.C.'s Classification of Belize As "High Risk" Destination Is Reality

As we reported on Thursday, Belize has been classified as a "high" risk category destination for travelers by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The classification for Belize came along with five other countries to Level Three or high risk for Covid-19. The "Level Three Covid-19 High" category applies to countries that have had more than one hundred cases per hundred thousand residents in the past twenty-eight days. Today, News Five checked in with the Belize Tourism Board's Director of Cruise, Quality Management and Capacity Development, Abil Castaneda to find out how this can potentially affect Belize's primary income earner.

Abil Castaneda, Director of Cruise, Quality Management and Capacity Development

"It's part of the ongoing realities we face still being in a pandemic. If you recall, I think it was in April that we were reduced to level two, at that time because our cases were very low. So just to understand, this high risk level is somewhat of an advisory that the US C.D.C. provides to anybody that's thinking about traveling out of the U.S. Every other major destination in our region, stemming from Costa Rica to Brazil, Barbados, all of them are within the level three status. So this is a part of our market reality now that we have to face so what we do at the B.T.B. is continue to push these strategic marketing campaigns, as the recent announcement of Belize being featured on Sports Illustrated. That is going to multiply significantly in terms of getting visitations."

Belize's High Risk COVID Status Has Not Resulted in Tourism Cancellations

Castaneda says that despite the "high risk" classification that Belize has received, it has not and hopefully will not negatively impact our tourism arrivals.

Abil Castaneda, Director of Cruise, Quality Management and Capacity Development

"The reality is that up to today we have not really received any sort of negative impact from our industry or any sort of cancellations and we believe that that will continue based on the trends that we saw in January with Omicron when that wave happened. We believed we would have had a more drastic impact at that time but that didn't necessarily materialize, so we are very optimistic, but it's part of the realities that we continue to face. We're also inviting some of the top influencers on social media to Belize to keep Belize and its brand as a part of top of mind. This is the market that we are currently working and we try to strive on so these are the ways in which we seek to minimize the impact, if any on an advisory like this."

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