Sargassum is one of the major problems affecting tourism in multiple countries in this region. In Belize, many beaches have been impacted by Sargassum, causing hotels, residents and other organizations to put extra efforts in disposing of the seaweed. According to John Burgos, Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, the government is collaborating with the tourism sector to help mitigate the impacts of Sargassum on the Tourism Industry.
John Burgos, Executive Director, BTIA: “We don’t know exactly when but we have to assure them that we have everything in place to be able- government has already approved, you know we’ve been working with government submitted a white paper and government finally approved support for the private sector for the next six months from November to April. That support is going to include 2% tax that they’re going to be able to keep with the purpose being that for them to manage the cleaning up of their beaches so that the tourists have a clean beach when they come, which is the main concern. They’re also providing duty exemption for the importation of any equipment or materials that are going to be used to deal with sargassum and then they have funding available through the local government to clean up the public beaches. We’re hoping that it’s going to be an efficient system so that when sargassum arrives tomorrow we’re going to be able to hit the ground running and get the sargassum of the beaches.”
John Burgos noted that between January and March of next year, sargassum is predicted to return to our beaches. These months are also recorded to have the highest amount of tourist arrivals into the country.