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Hotel Association questions need for ‘mandatory’ travel health insurance

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Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022. 8:46 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to the President of the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), Alina Saldivar, the organization has opposed the idea of a mandatory travel health insurance scheme proposed by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) since it was first presented in October and still disagrees in principle.

A letter circulated to members and released to the press reveals that the BHA’s representative on the board of directors of the Tourism Board voted against it at a meeting in November.

The Association’s concerns boil down to cost and details, also noting that in the original proposal one company (Insurance Corporation of Belize (ICB)) would be responsible for providing the insurance; the field has been opened to others.

While the Association agrees that hotels should be compensated for extended stays for guests that test positive for COVID-19, and that the idea is not new and has been implemented in other countries, it says “there isn’t enough evidence to support that reasoning as the overwhelming of our health system during the pandemic was never caused by tourists overcrowding the hospitals and we have not been provided with any specific examples of guests that had not been able to meet their medical expenses during their Belize vacation.”

Therefore, it says, the reasoning of the government that such a scheme would 1. protect our local health system, and 2. protect the health of international visitors and Belizeans from Covid-19, is to them not satisfactorily established.

The Association tells members it will guide them through the details as soon as the Board makes them available: “We continue to jump the many hurdles that we have faced in the past two years and continue to prove to be a resilient industry that our economy heavily depends on.”

 

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