Belize’s third wave of COVID-19 may be posing some major threats to the tourism industry. Yesterday the country reported one of the highest numbers of new cases for one day and the current number of active cases is alarmingly high. This surge has caused Belize to rank at level four, which is the highest, on the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notice. According to the President of the Belize Hotel Association, Adina Saldivar, the upgraded ranking may affect the current bookings for the upcoming high season.
Alina Saldivar, President, Belize Hotel Association: “The main thing that hurt us was the fact that the cases went up and that put us as a level four risk so then of course that goes out into the international news and then people see it and so of course but as I had said in several previous interviews a lot of the reservations for the high season had come in already so a lot of the hotels are full from November onwards, if not full at least having really nice occupancy rates compared to last year. So that continues to be the risk but we start to lose those. So yes right now it’s slow we have a couple tourists but nothing much, I think everybody is kinda slow right now but we’re holding our breaths for November. So we’re hoping that the numbers will start to go down so that those reservations don’t get affected.”
According to Saldivar hoteliers have also implemented their own safety protocols to ensure their staff work in a clean and safe environment.
Alina Saldivar, President, Belize Hotel Association: “As you know there were four destinations that were given a little more leeway, the restrictions are not put in place to affect tourism in any way even though it still does inevitably. The fact that we are being considered wit those leeway for example the extra two hours for the curfew it really speaks volumes as to what we as the destinations have to do to ensure that we are supporting the minister so that he is able to justify that we are being careful and we are following the protocols and we’re doing what we should be doing to ensure that we remain responsible and safe destinations within the country. So yes I think that that I know the BHA has tried to really drive that message to all the hotels and restaurants that we can’t let our guards down in terms of the washing your hands, social distancing, wearing of the masks. Those protocols are very important, those protocols are the ones that we need to keep in place so that we learn to live with this virus and hopefully have somewhat of a normal high season starting November. So definitely I think everyone needed that reminder to not let down their guards in terms of the protocols and to make sure that all the safety precautions are in place.”
Saldivar says that the majority of workers in the service industry have been vaccinated and she encourages all Belizeans to do so.