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Will Cruise Tourism Make a Comeback?

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) today released a new set of health and safety protocols, which will be used to restart cruise tourism in Belize. The BTB says that these rules outline adjustments and adaptations to be undertaken at each step of the cruise cycle – from home port, to destination and return. The nineteen-page document outlines the steps that are to be taken prior to arrival, upon entry into Belize, movement while in Belize, and for those who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic. For example, tourists arriving in the country will have taken either a PCR test or a rapid antigen test two days before. Crew members are to take a PCR test and must quarantine for at least ten days. Before they start to work, they should also have a negative test. Another key thing to note is that while in country, passengers must use only gold standard-approved transport providers. While in Belize, passengers will follow the rules just like ordinary Belizeans including the mandatory use of face masks. The BTB adds that Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will resume with the first test sail on August four. This will be followed by the official first guests to call on Harvest Caye on August nine, signaling the reopening of the cruise tourism sector in Belize. Minister of Tourism Anthony Mahler described this important step as the light at the end of the tunnel, adding (quote) “…the key to our success lies in developing a strategic framework to ensure a safe and secure experience for passengers, crew and the destination” (end quote). Belize has welcomed well over one million cruise passengers annually for four straight years before the pandemic hit.