The Prime Minister of Belize yesterday announced that the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City will reopen on August 15, 2020, initiating the third phase of the country’s five-phase tourism re-opening strategy.
The airport’s reopening represents the next step in the country’s continued relaxation of travel restrictions in allowing the entry of private aviation and chartered flights, as well as a limited amount of international leisure travelers with reservations at approved hotels only.
The ‘Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program,’ recently approved by the Hon. Jose Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, represents a new, enhanced set of safety protocols that must be met by the destination’s hotels, restaurants and tour operators. The nine-point program is aimed at bolstering the confidence of both travelers and the nation’s hospitality workers in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism products.
In keeping with this strategy, the reopening of hotels will be conducted in phases, and the first group of accommodations permitted to open will be those that have already qualified for their Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition and are also able to provide their guests with full service. Essentially, this would allow for visitors to stay mostly contained on the property, since all amenities are available on-site, and minimize potential tourist interactions with the local community.
Would-be visitors should book their stays solely at Gold Standard-approved hotels, a full list of which will be made available on the Belize Tourism Board’s website in the coming weeks.
“All travelers to Belize will be required to adhere to health and safety measures implemented by the Government of Belize (GOB) including social distancing, hand sanitization, proper hygiene and the wearing of face masks in public spaces,” reads the announcement.
Travelers hoping to enter the country will be required to download the Belize Health App and provide requisite personal information prior to boarding their flight to Belize. Upon form submission, they’ll be issued a unique QR code and ID number for contact-tracing purposes during their stay.
Upon arrival, passengers must provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours of travel to be allowed immediate entry into Belize. Others must be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at Belize International Airport at their own expense. Those who test negative will be permitted to enter the country, while anyone who tests positive will be placed under a mandatory, minimum-fourteen-day quarantine at his or her own expense.
The Government of Belize, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) are continuing to actively monitor the global health crisis and will make policy adjustments moving forward as necessary. Officials are still preparing plans for the reopening of borders to visitors arriving via land and sea, which will be announced at a later date.
The full details of Belize’s tourism-sector health and safety protocols can be found here.
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