The BTIA a broad-based tourism umbrella organization that seeks to bring together tourism related interests to meet the challenges of a dynamic and growing tourism industry in Belize.

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  /  Message from the President   /  Message from the President June 2022

Message from the President June 2022

There is no shortage of good news in the tourism industry and I’d like to share some of it with our BTIA members.

–Visitor arrivals are gradually returning to 2019 levels and individual visitor spending has increased significantly over pre-pandemic levels. Part of the reason is the much discussed “pent up demand for travel” as well as the general increase in upscale accommodations and more exotic activities. This means that even with fewer tourists more money is being spent on hotels, restaurants and tours. Banks report that businesses that were forced to borrow funds to get through the pandemic are by and large repaying those loans and some are expanding operations.

–Even better news is that the U.S. government has ended the requirement that all people flying to the States must show a negative Covid-19 test. This relieves each visitor to Belize—and any other country—of having to spend the US$65-75 for a test as well as the fear of testing positive and having to spend up to ten more days of quarantine away from home. While this newfound pricing does not give us an edge over our tropical competitors (all of whom, except Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were subject to the same requirement) it does make international travel much cheaper for Americans and should spur more travel abroad for U.S. residents, especially as high gas prices make domestic travel more expensive. Hopefully the move will give us a summer boost and may be felt as early as the July 4 holiday weekend.

–It may not qualify as breaking news but I would like to congratulate our team that put together the recent Summit: Reimagining Belizean Tourism. Aside from providing stimulating and thoughtful presentations it marked the beginning of what will be a fruitful collaboration with the University of Belize to enhance tourism research and training. Thanks also to MarFund and other sponsors for their crucial support.

–And a final word on Covid-19. As the latest statistics show, we are in the midst of yet another major spike. Fortunately the particular Omicron variant affecting us is more transmissible than lethal and it appears that as long as a new deadly variant does not appear we will deal with Covid as just another flu. But please: get vaccinated and boosted and keep our employees and guests as healthy as possible.