Posted: Monday, July 12, 2021. 12:05 pm CST.
‘We are one of the safest countries in the world right now,’ Belize’s Tourism Minister, Anthony Mahler
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “Belize is considered a level one destination by the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in the United States, which means we are one of the safest countries in the world right now – we are on track for a quick recovery,” Belize’s Tourism Minister Anthony Mahler told Breaking Travel News.
Breaking Travel News said that as tourism is regaining its footing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Belize is “one bright spot” as it is rapidly recovering and should return to pre-pandemic numbers by early 2022.
Minister Mahler told Breaking Travel News that experts had predicted that it would take up to three years for Belize to bounce back to where it was before the pandemic, but he believes that we should “be back to 100 percent of pre-Covid-19 capacity by January next year, maybe even 110 percent.”
Mahler said that tourists from the United States in particular, had helped boost back the tourism dollar. The main legacy carriers like United, American, Delta, and Copa from Panama are now flying into Belize while Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines will soon be on board connecting cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles.
Mahler added that they are negotiating with European carriers and hoped to confirm a UK airline soon.
Belize’s arrival figures have jumped from 7,000 in January to 26,000 now with tourists coming mainly from the United States, but also from 81 other countries.
Mahler said while Belize is uniquely Caribbean in its food and music, it has also become Latinized and is taking advantage of land arrivals as part of the multi-destination tourism that we share with Mexico and the Central American countries.
“We reopened the airport in October last year, following a few months of lockdown here in Belize,” Mahler said. “At the start of June, we opened our land borders, but only for tourists travelling back and forth – this means Belizeans still cannot go to Mexico, Guatemala, for example.”
While fully vaccinated people may enter Belize without a COVID-19 test, strict protocols remain in place. Those who are not vaccinated or fully vaccinated have to take a COVID-19 test.
Mahler also told Breaking Travel News that Belize has vaccinated 90,000 people from a target of 240,000 hoping to reach 170,000 by the end of July.
The Breaking Travel News article points out that Belize’s tourist attractions include the largest living reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef, pristine atolls, the most extensive cave system in Central America and the Caribbean, the dense rainforest, plus several archaeological sites.
Mahler told Breaking Travel News that during the lockdown, Belize improved its tourism product and that a number of new resorts are now operational, such as the Alaia Belize, part of the Autograph Collection from Marriott, in Ambergris Caye near San Pedro.
He added that there are talks with the Four Seasons and Mexican investors to build a private island resort off the coast of Belize City. Plus, they are also talking with Six Senses, the luxury brand from IHG Hotels & Resorts, about building a private island location as well.
Mahler said that as recent as last week Carnival Cruise Line has resumed trips to Belize in Belize’s drive to regain lost footing and gain new ground in the tourism sector.
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