Located in Central America, Belize is a diverse destination with lush rainforest, ancient Maya sites, beautiful beaches and incredible diving, not to mention laid-back Caribbean hospitality. Belize is perfect for families, couples and explorers who like to travel off the beaten path in beautiful natural landscapes.
Belize has a huge network of national parks brimming with exotic wildlife – including more than 500 species of birds – and dotted with ancient Maya sites. A diverse mix of cultures means visitors can enjoy diverse cuisines and a rich tapestry of musical sounds.
Belize also has marine treasures to offer, including three of the only four coral atolls in the western hemisphere, the second-largest barrier reef in the world, and the Great Blue Hole, a Unesco World Heritage site.
Can British travellers visit Belize?
Belize has reopened its international airport and UK visitors are now permitted to enter the country. However the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the Central American country.
Within Belize, everyone must maintain a distance of six feet from another person, and wear face masks and mouth coverings in public places and office buildings.
Shops are open, restaurants are open for reservation only (with a maximum of 10 guests from the same party), and social events are discouraged (maximum of 40 people at a gathering).
How is Belize planning to reopen to tourism?
Land borders and sea borders remain closed, except for those travelling to Mexico by land with prior approval.
The government has introduced a phased approach to tourism reopening, depending on the infection rate, and has developed a series of national guidelines that form overarching protocols for the industry.
What do travellers need to know before going to Belize?
- All travellers will need to download the Belize health app and fill out the required information 72 hours before they travel.
- A QR code will be sent to the passenger and used for contact tracing while in the destination.
- Visitors will have to show a negative PCR test on arrival, taken 72 hours before departure, which will enable them to go through the ‘fast track’ arrival process. If they can’t get a negative PCR test before travelling to Belize, they can take one on arrival at a cost of $50.
- Travellers will go through health screening, temperature checks and processing of information already contained in the QR code on the app.
Hotels are reopening gradually. The first to reopen are those that have achieved the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition, and provide full service to guests. This means they can offer all amenities so guests can stay on the property, and minimise opportunities for interaction within the local community. That includes having transport to offer pick-up/drop-off services from the airport, access to a restaurant on property, a pool or access to beach front, and the ability to provide tours limited to guests of the property only.
A list of the Gold Standard approved hotels will be available here in the coming weeks.
What can travellers expect on arrival to Belize?
Those with a negative test result 72 hours ahead of travel will get a certification and exit via the fast-track line. Some will be randomly selected for a test to confirm their negative result.
Those unable to provide a negative PCR test will need to take a test on arrival, at their own cost ($50). If there is a positive result, they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days at their own expense in the destination.
All visitors to Belize will be required to:
- Wear a mask during the entire landing, disembarkation and arrival process, and while inside the airport.
- Undergo temperature checks using non-contact digital infrared thermometers or thermal imaging cameras.
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines in all queues for health checks, immigration and customs inspections.
- Follow and respond to contact-tracing guidelines to allow for a rapid response from health officials, should Covid-19 symptoms develop.
- Use the sanitising stations to clean hands frequently and cooperate with health screening on arrival.
At the airport
The Philip Goldson International Airport has introduced enhanced cleaning and sanitisation protocols. These include:
- Barriers and sneeze guards between passengers and Immigration & Customs officers.
- Hand sanitising stations throughout the terminal building.
- Floor markers placed six feet apart to encourage social distancing in queues.
- Sanitisation of luggage prior to transfer into the terminal building.
Residents and visitors departing from Belize will also see enhanced health and safety measures implemented. These include:
- Limiting entry into the terminal to ticketed passengers only.
- Mandatory use of face masks at all times while in the terminal building.
- Safety barriers at check-in counters and the immigration area.
- Social distancing to protect passengers.
When will flights resume to Belize?
Delta and United have confirmed that they will be ready to fly when Belize is ready to accept travellers.
What changes will travellers notice around Belize?
Belize has announced a Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Programme for hotels, restaurants and tour operators to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards and ensure both employees and travellers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product.
Some of these new standards include:
- Social distancing and the use of face masks in public spaces.
- Online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering and booking systems.
- Hand sanitising stations across each property.
- Enhanced room cleaning and increased sanitisation of public spaces and high touch surfaces.
- Daily health checks for guests and employees.
- Designated ‘isolation/quarantine rooms’ for suspected Covid-19 cases and action plans for handling guests or employees with symptoms.
Tours, archaeological sites and national parks
- New capacity restrictions for all tourism sites to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
- Smaller tour groups to provide a more intimate tour experience.
- Sites and parks to manage tours by appointment to limit the number of visitors on site.
- Enhanced sanitisation of tour equipment.
This allows for the industry to reopen responsibly, test new entry protocols and allow for adjustments to ensure the wellbeing of Belizeans and visitors. As the country reopens for travel, Belize wants to assure travellers and residents that hotels and restaurants will be cleaner and safer than ever before.
PICTURES: Mlarrieu 2014
Last updated January 20, 2021
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