Airport to reopen on October 1, hotels are ready!


In one week, on Thursday, October 1, the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) is set to reopen to international visitors. Unfortunately, there are a number of concerns among the general populace, especially concerns of health and safety as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resorts, hotels, and other tourism stakeholders have to be ready to accommodate guests while maintaining the safety of both the guests and staff. But this is a reality that we all will have to be able to adjust to since there is no foreseeable end to this pandemic. With that then, these tourism stakeholders have come to a general agreement that it is time for business to restart.
Again, the health and safety of all must remain priority and that is where the Gold Standard Certification comes into play. There is information surfacing of the drafting of a legal document from hoteliers and resort owners to become Gold Standard certified. From earlier in the year, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has been working with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other private sector tourism stakeholders to develop a gold standard certification as a nine-point list of best practices under special COVID-19 procedures. Whether or not this will be a mandate, however, is yet to be officially announced but according to the BTB, the Gold Standard is in the process of being legislated and will be a new licensing requirement. As a result, for a hotel to be able to accept international tourists, it will be a must for a hotel or resort to be Gold Standard certified.
As it pertains to tourists, it does seem that they will need proof of reservation at a Gold Standard certified location before they are able to enter the country. In this initial phase of reopening, tourists must have confirmation from a hotel which has been Gold Standard certified and which has been approved for reopening within the tourism safe corridor.
Director of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Karen Bevans told The Guardian that as part of the reopening of the industry will be the Belize Health App, which will be key to monitoring tourists. Additionally, the institution is working to do more training for hotels that have not yet attained the Gold Standard certification. She explained that the reason for some hotels not yet receiving their certification is because they were on lockdown and employees are just now returning to work. Repeat training for the certification then, is the BTB’s goal at this point to have as many hotels certified as possible.