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Reopening of Maritime Activities - Yachting Tourism

Posted By: Marty

Reopening of Maritime Activities - Yachting Tourism - 02/11/21 11:17 AM

Please be informed that approval has been issued by Cabinet for the reopening of maritime borders for yachting tourism under the following conditions:

· The Port Authority Act makes it mandatory that a licensed shipping agent is needed to enter the vessel. Note that Shipping Agents with specialized licenses will be authorized to deal primarily with these non-commercial vessels. A set Tariff of no more than US$150 maximum is hereby approved for this service.

· The authorized maritime ports of entry are to be San Pedro, Belize City and Placencia.

· A 72-hours notice is required for entry [all sister agencies are to be informed immediately upon receipt of the NOA: Immigration, Public Health, Tourism, Customs, BAHA].

· All public health safety protocols related to Covid-19 remain in effect. [A negative Covid test is required to enter Belize. Crew/passengers must take a test before their arrival in Belize. A PCR test can be taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival and a Rapid Antigen test up to 48 hours prior to arrival].”

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BELIZE’S MARITIME BORDERS NOW OPEN FOR YACHTING TOURISM

Belize has officially reopened its maritime borders for yachting tourism. The authorized maritime ports of entry will be San Pedro, Belize City and Placencia.

The reopening has been approved under the following conditions:

- A licensed shipping agent is required for the vessel to enter. Only shipping agents with special licenses are authorized to deal with these non-commercial vessels and are authorized to charge a set tariff of no more than US $150 for their service.

- Notice to enter must be made at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

- The yacht’s crew and passengers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon entry. Both PCR (taken within 72 hours of arrival) and Rapid Antigen (taken within 48 hours of arrival) tests are accepted. Visit www.travelbelize.org/health-safety for detailed health and safety protocols.

The Belize Port Authority, the regulatory agency for Belize’s maritime borders, is confident that yachting tourism can be carried out safely by following approved local and international health guidelines along with established boarding procedures and protocols.

Yachting tourism in Belize is a niche market with tremendous potential for further growth. COVID-19 has caused many families to rethink travel and yachting tourism allows for families to vacation safely within a “bubble”. Belize’s pristine waters and pleasant tropical climate offer the ideal setting for yachting vacations where visitors can enjoy fishing, snorkeling, diving and many other attractions safely.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Reopening of Maritime Activities - Yachting Tourism - 02/12/21 11:54 AM

Borders Open For Yachts

In these pandemic times while many ceremonies remain virtual that's not the case for Belizean vacations.

It's been months since we welcomed back visitors from the friendly skies and yesterday Cabinet re-opened our waters to those who travel by yacht.

We got more details on this new development from Port Commissioner Gilbert Swaso.

Major H. Gilbert Swaso - Belize Ports Commissioner


"As you may be aware that only cargo vessels up until the cabinet decided to open the borders for the non-commercial private vessels. So, since we got that approval from cabinet, we deemed it important that we have a quantitated approach in relation to the handling, particularly the boarding and clearance of these vessels when they come into Belize. So hence the reason why those protocols for the boarding were sent out with a view then that every vessel dealing now specifically to these private yachts must engage a shipping agent and they shipping be the one to forward to port authority and the other respective departments that are involved with boarding. The notice of arrival and any other requirements that are deemed necessary. We firmly believe that following health tourism, you may be aware of the fact that 50% of the vessels that are arriving in Belize particularly as it relates to passengers. The private yachts have less personnel onboard so the footprint on the destination will not be as large in comparison to a cruise ship but it is also indicating that by and large the revenue that will be spent in Belize will certainly be more than what the average cruise tourism would have spent. And that's across the board for the respective, for service providers and then you have shipping agents who will also be benefiting, so there is a lot of people from the maritime sector who will benefit, and there will be the private citizens who have services within the respective areas and destination that you will be visiting that will also benefit from this venture that is done by the ministry and the cabinet."

Int'l Water Travel Not For Ferries

We also asked Swaso about the commercial vessels, the ones that before Covid used to make runs to Chetumal, Mexico and Puerto Cortes, Honduras, and whether they'd be allowed to resume their runs. Here's how he answered that one:

Cherisse Halsall
"Do you know with the opening of maritime activities does it mean the tourists boats will resume runs to Chetumal and to Puerto Cortes?"

Major H. Gilbert Swaso - Belize Ports Commissioner
"At this time what we are focussing on are the arrival and the departure of those private yachts. We at this time are not contemplating the other voyages from Belize in terms of commercial passenger craft from Belize to the neighbouring countries at this time. That wasn't the idea that we had in the first instance, but it is something that I'm sure will be considered. One of the biggest issue is to ensure that the health of our nation is certainly the highest priority. So, by first focusing on the private yachts, you have minimum of personnel and then we can also adjust our strategy in particular the health strategy to ensure that we contain the virus from spreading within Belize."

Swaso also told us that reopening of our maritime borders requires the strict following of health and safety guidelines and adherence to established boarding protocols.

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