Although its reopening date is somewhat later than some of its Caribbean neighbors, Belize has just announced plans to welcome back international visitors on August 15.
The United States is Belize’s largest source for tourism revenue, and the destination had been waiting on the situation there to improve before announcing a reopening date. Now that it seems there is no end in sight for COVID-19 in the US, Belize is reluctantly deciding to open anyway, and salvage part of its tourism season.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow said in a press conference, “After the most careful consideration, after the most searching examination, after the most intense debate we are able now to announce a firm reopening date for the PGIA, the Philip Goldson International Airport. That date, ladies and gentlemen, is August 15th, 2020. I want to repeat that the decision has not been an easy one. In our region, cases of the novel coronavirus continue to surge. In the U.S., our greatest source market for tourism, the number of states experiencing substantial jumps in the rates of infections is alarming. Particularly concerning is that Florida seems likely to become the new American epicenter and California and Texas, two of the states from which there are also direct flights to Belize, are among those seeing a pronounced resurgence of the virus. In the circumstances, and with the experts confirming that no end to this sea of corona troubles is in sight, it seemed to us futile that waiting any longer would provide a more favorable launching pad for our tourism restart. So we fixed on our August fifteenth date. We decided that any further delay would likely gain us nothing from a safety standpoint.”
On August 15, airlines such as United, American, Avianca, and Delta are expected to resume flights to Belize.
Visiting won’t be a simple process, however. Travelers can only book one of the approved accommodations and must download the Belize health app and register their unique number to allow authorities to track their movements once in the country. Travelers will also be required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, and show their negative test result at customs; otherwise, they’ll have to take a test upon arrival at the airport.
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