Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020. 5:47 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BITA) and the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) are in discussions about financing support that the tourism sector will need to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BTIA, in a position paper presented to the DFC, is asking that the corporation—either through its existing resources or new lines of international credit—establish a dedicated tourism industry loan window that can provide long term financing (7-10 years) at below-market rates (3-6% interest) to established tourism businesses to get them through this unprecedented crisis and return themselves and the country to prosperity.
BTIA Executive Director, John Burgos, told our newsroom that the association’s board of management and chapter representatives held a meeting and formulated the position paper, which stressed that the industry is not looking for a bailout but rather support in recovery.
“The negative economic impact of the pandemic has us thinking of opportunities outside the box, something completely new to provide financing support to tourism stakeholders beyond what the local financial institutions have offered,” Burgos said. “Belize is in no position to offer a stimulus but it can offer a financing program under special terms. Such as the suggestion of interest rates below 6%, payment of only interest or no loan payment for a 12-month period. This would allow the economy to recover its tourism market share and revenue stream.”
The pandemic has had disastrous effects on Belize’s economy and the tourism sector was among the hardest hit, according to information shared by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The need for recovery in tourism is so pressing that the government is actually considering allowing the inflow of tourists next month, provided certain safeguards are in place to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 in the country.
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