Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2021. 1:48 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The more contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 has been disrupting global travel due to an increase in the number of reported cases, with cruise ships being turned away for their ports of call, the NBC affiliate WSPD Local 6 reports. However, Belize has thus far been spared the fallout to its cruise tourism sector, which has only just begun recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
A recent article notes that several ships bound for destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico were denied access to port facilities last week. There were also instances in which passengers were prohibited from leaving ships when they arrived at port.
Ships affected include: Holland America Line Koningsdam, which had to keep its passengers on board on Thursday, December 23, due to a directive from Mexican health authorities as fully vaccinated members of the crew tested positive for COVID-19; the Carnival Freedom was turned away from several ports in the Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Aruba on Wednesday, December 22 and Thursday, December 23, due to positive cases reported on board; officials in Colombia prevented the Seven Seas Mariner from letting anyone disembark in Cartagena last Wednesday, following reports of seven positive Covid-19 cases; officials in Curacao and Aruba also turned away the Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas this week after 55 fully vaccinated crew members and passengers contracted Covid-19.
BBN spoke with the Belize Tourism Board regarding the issue and learned that none of the ships affected were headed to Belize.
In August, Belize received its first cruise ship call since March 2020 when the pandemic brought global travel to a halt. As outbreaks continue to affect cruise ships and their passengers, incidents such as those in the region would have a detrimental effect on the industry’s recovery efforts.
Currently, there are no major travel restrictions prohibiting travelers from coming to Belize, and Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Anthony Mahler said earlier this month, said that efforts are underway to increase visitor traffic.
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