Tourists coming to Belize since February 15 have been mandated to pay for travel insurance. Upon initial implementation, the controversy was stirred, particularly by the Belize Hotel Association, whose members were uneasy about the impact it will have on accommodations. Since then, the BHA has come around and so have some other partners in tourism. It seems that, at least for now, the insurance is staying but according to BTB Director Evan Tillett, it is something that can be revisited down the road.
Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism, Belize Tourism Board: “I will tell you the travel insurance is not controversial in my mind. We are the custodians and the regulators of the tourism industry and we make decisions that aren’t always popular but in the best interests of the industry. We’ve seen absolutely zero decline in terms of the travel insurance. I know there were some hiccups in terms of how it was handled through the International Airport but it’s like any other roll out you will have hiccups and I think now we have worked out those hiccups. Remember that travel insurance has a lot of benefits, it benefits the hotel sector, it benefits the traveler, it has in a component of trip cancellation and it affects both COVID and non-COVID medical emergencies. So there is still relevance in terms of the travel insurance and you have B.A 2 that is raging in the US, that’s raging in China and so we have to mitigate a total shutdown going forward and so we keep the insurance in place as long as we see the need for it and if there is not a need for it then we either look at making it optional, we look at ending the insurance or we look at keeping the insurance so we are hoping for that. It’s not etched in stone but we are reviewing it continuously to ensure that the industry benefits.”
As we’ve reported, each tourist must pay for the policy, which comes in at eighteen U.S. dollars.