Press Release – The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) recently polled its members to gauge their views regarding the reopening of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA). The survey also asked members to share their views on the medical safeguards that should be in place once PGIA is reopened to minimize the importation and spread of Covid-19 from arrivals.
The survey confirmed that BTIA members are divided about the timing of any PGIA opening. Specifically, there was no consensus for a July 1st reopening, with 50% of respondents supporting this opening date. Fifity percent of respondents indicated a preference for a later reopening date. Of this group of responses, the preferred dates ranged as follows: August 1st (22%), September 1st (9%), October 1st (11%), November 1st (11%), and December 1st (2%). Forty six percent indicated that Belize’s medical preparedness is more important than setting of an arbitrary PGIA reopening date.
88% of respondents were of the opinion that the Government of Belize must have a comprehensive reopening plan with adequate medical safeguards in place before the actual reopening of PGIA.
Members felt that the following protocols and safeguards should be instituted and form part of a PGIA reopening plan:
• 96% of respondents support the implementation of sanitation protocols and guidelines for all tourism service providers (Hotels, Restaurants, Tour operators, etc.).
• 60% of respondents wanted a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test conducted by a certified facility within 48-72 hours before boarding.
• 57% stated that they also wanted a certified rapid test (protein sensitive) in Belize upon arrival.
• 52% of respondents stated that they also wanted to see a contact tracing app in place.
BTIA notes that these medical safeguards are not available at this time.
In summary, BTIA’s membership is conflicted on the PGIA reopening issue. Since the matter is so complicated and factual knowledge is limited, BTIA will refrain from lobbying for a specific reopening date. BTIA trusts that the Government of Belize and the Covid-19 National Oversight Committee will evaluate the situation and act accordingly in the best interest of Belizeans.