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Tourism Industry Association worries over “suggested” U.S. tourist quarantine

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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2021. 2:21 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Starting this Tuesday, international visitors to the United States are being asked to bring along a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to enter.

But tourist stakeholders are worried by a new presidential executive order which they say might hurt their product – Americans hoping to travel abroad are being asked to quarantine for at least ten days on their return.

Contrast that with Belize’s policy of testing tourists on their arrival (and previously requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter among other requirements), and mandatorily quarantining only those exposed to the virus. Belize also established a “Safe Tourist Corridor” and regulated “Gold Standard” accommodations to which tourists were directed.

The order was among the 17 so far signed by new U.S. President Joe Biden. While not mandated, this “recommendation” from the Federal Government may be enough to put off tourists from traveling.

President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Stewart Krohn, told the media this week that it feels much like the recommendations given during an annual medical check-up. But more seriously, he said, “I think this is more of an attempt by the U.S. authorities to scare people in not traveling abroad than it is to force then to quarantine into their homes for ten days or however many days it is after they return to the United States.”

Krohn added that it would be difficult to enforce, with law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) not keen to put officers to follow innocent tourists returning from abroad.

Krohn concluded that the new order will not be a “knockout” for Belizean tourism. His recommendations are these: “…we’re just gonna have to tighten our belts, try to promote local tourism more, try to increase… emergency aid measures for the industry.”

The ex-news man added that if the pronouncements of chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci are true that by mid-year the U.S. and Canada and other developed countries will “get almost back to normal,” then they expect pent-up demand for travel resulting in more reservations and more travel – which would be just in time for Belize’s “high season.”

The executive order also requires face masks to be worn on airplanes, trains, buses, and at airports in the U.S., as well as most federal properties.



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