Ministry of Tourism to Review COVID Measures at P.G.I.A.

Posted By: Marty

Ministry of Tourism to Review COVID Measures at P.G.I.A. - 12/04/20 06:50 PM

In addressing the adverse economic effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the hospitality sector, Tourism Minister Anthony Mahler also spoke on the need for a complete review of the measures being taken at the Philip Goldson International Airport since its reopening in October.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism

My friends, we are truly living in an uncertain time, a time when many stakeholders are on the brink of losing everything, a time when the tourism industry has been shaken to the core. Today almost all stakeholders are struggling to stay afloat. Our tour guides, tour operators, restaurant owners, people who own gift shops, bars, attractions, small, medium and large properties, no one has been spared the devastating blows of COVID. However, for all of you who are hurting badly, I can assure you that I have spoken to the prime minister and my colleagues in cabinet and we are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that the tourism industry has the support it needs to navigate through the COVID-19 minefields. In fact, just last week the Ministry of Health relaxed the quarantine regulations by pushing the curfew back from nine p.m. to ten p.m. and by allowing open-air restaurants to operate at fifty percent of their capacity. This only came about after dialogue with the private sector and over the last week or so, Ive called for a thorough review of the systems and policies that are currently being utilized at the P.G.I.A. The visitor experience at the most important point of entry is unacceptable. To improve the efficiency at the airport we are exploring the use of the rapid antigen test for seventy-two hours and we are extending the PCR tests to either five or seven days.

Channel 5
Posted By: Marty

Re: Ministry of Tourism to Review COVID Measures at P.G.I.A. - 12/05/20 11:24 AM

The Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations and the Minister of Health and Wellness conducted a walkthrough at PGIA.

Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, along with Hon. Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness made a visit to the Phillip Goldson International Airport today. The purpose of their joint visit was to personally observe flight arrival protocols with a view to addressing immediate concerns received from the tourism private sector.

The visitor experience and delays in processing arriving passengers have been major concerns for the industry, and it is expected that during the month of December, the number of arriving tourists and Belizeans will only increase, compounding the problem if it is not immediately addressed. The guest experience is a priority, but so too is the health and safety of all frontline workers and arriving passengers, so the solutions must be carefully determined.

It is no secret that the recovery of the tourism industry is critical to the countrys economic recovery, so it is imperative that the airport experience is addressed urgently. We must do everything we can to address the concerns and avoid negative feedback, which would be counterproductive to all the efforts we are making to bring tourists back, commented Hon. Anthony Mahler.

Both Ministers Mahler and Chebat did the walkthrough, together with personnel from Health, Tourism, Customs and Belize Airport Concession Company, where they did a detailed review of the process and protocols. They even had conversations with visitors to get direct feedback. This visit follows two previous visits within the last week carried out by the teams at the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, the Department of Civil Aviation and the Belize Tourism Board, so there is a good understanding of where the bottlenecks exist.

Various areas of concern exist, and these details have been noted and expressed to all relevant parties in an effort to find an immediate solution to the issues at hand. As a result, a plan will be developed to revise the current protocols and allow for better management of safe passenger flow. The systems at the Philip Goldson International Airport, the main entry point for Belize, must function optimally if Belize is to be successful in meeting the objectives of tourism recovery.

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