Dear Slickrock Friends,
I trust all’s well with you and yours.
As mentioned in previous updates, I have spent 17 years developing an eco-friendly business plan, rather than the dream of having an island.
The group of extremely decent people at Slickrock had a spark that I had a very good gut feeling about when I first met them face-to-face way back in 2011. Not only were they highly experienced but that, combined with being nice as pie, and friendly, was what made me slog it out for eight years and two months to take over.
Aurora, Marcy, and Lavern
I wasn’t ever looking to boost my ego by being a boss but empower these very special people, who I honestly look up to as friends and a second family, to become part of Slickrock’s next chapter and more.
Setting up a business without colleagues, or business partners back in Blighty (UK) was scary enough as a teenager, let alone starting from scratch 5,000 miles away, without the knowledge of Belizean law, business tax, general sales tax, social security, or licensing.
My main hyper-focus on Slickrock wasn’t the amazing location of the island, or so much the sports, even with my basketball background. An established business would cut through the red tape, combined with hand-selected professionals trained to a very high level, who’d become future business partners.
A five-to-six-month season was always the norm, but I wondered what the Belizean team got up to off-season. As with tourism in most countries, it is pretty much a rollercoaster ride year-upon-year, with half the year being all dandy, then catch and kill for the other half.
Imagine if these very special folks had the opportunity to be business partners in something bigger, with sister companies offering work during that financially stressful dip off-season.
Not only would I not lose every hair follicle from stress with trusted people by my side, but they would also have a chance to make themselves and their families proud.
After dedicating between five and twenty-three years of their lives to a part-time seasonal job, they deserve this opportunity.
That very carefully thought-out plan is still being tweaked every day, with the Slickrock family nearly steering the ship already. Just the fiddly paperwork behind the scenes being the last piece of the jigsaw.
I’m extra-aware of the connotations associated with colonialism, being English, and the submissiveness often shown in Belize workwise. I know it is polite to call me Mr. Phil, boss, or jefe, although I personally cringe at being called that, instead of Phil.
Treat others how you want to be treated is how I was brought up, and to this day, I always do my best to be polite to anyone, which is often mistaken as submissive. You should only look down on someone if you’re helping them up.
Magdaleno “Junior” (aka MJ)
When I only had a few pounds (sterling) in my pocket, I had some very nice people as mentors since I was a 15-year-old zookeeper who believed in me, my ideas, and I feel so passionately about others having an opportunity to step up the ladder and have someone believe in them.
From Rob Martin and the late Pete James, who ran big cat sanctuaries, to Mark Hubbocks who has helped me with accounting, Craig Sams, the founder of Whole Earth Foods, and Green & Black’s chocolate, to John Collier, Nick Harris, and Reid Manchester who encouraged me with my whacky ideas along the way. To this day, I class Cully Erdman and Lucy Wallingford, the founders of Slickrock as mentors and friends, and there’s nothing I’d like more than to carry on their legacy for many moons to come, with a group of Belizean friends.
Cully, Lucy, Phil
I am so much more content, after nigh on two years since being back in England and coming up to three years in charge come this November, that I know it is the right time to step back and watch the team flourish, as I know they can, 100%.
I will still be around 24/7 but know my introverted self isn’t best suited to phone calls, or being stuck inside of the office, as I get a buzz from start-ups and developing businesses if being truthful.
Most of the team have already had, or are lined up for the first vaccine, and we’re taking Covid and Slickrock’s resuscitation post-Covid seriously, combined with being professional at all times. With co-ownership, going the extra mile will be rewarding to the guests and the team, so everyone’s a winner.
For new bookings, we have reduced our pre-Covid price by 18%, and have included airport shuttles, dinner, breakfast, and accommodation on both the Friday night and Saturday night stays at Best Western. It used to exclude the shuttles, dinner, and breakfast on Saturday night.
As part of the recovery from a 95% drop in business since March 2020, the only change going forward is discontinuing the 10% discount for repeat guests due to the extra costs incurred. We will be keeping this price for all of 2021 and 2022.
We will honour the 10% discount on private charters exceeding 20 guests and under 12’s, only.
We have several enquiries for private charters next season (minimum of 15). For next season, non-charter weeks will be open to anyone on 24th December 2021 for Christmas, 31st December 2021 for New Year’s, 11th February 2022 for Valentine’s, 18th March 2022, 25th March 2022, and 1st April 2022 for Spring Break.
We look forward to welcoming you back, or for the first time.
Please feel free to call anytime between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday Belize time (Central America Time).
Thanks for your support in the past, present, or future.
CEO – Slickrock Adventures
Covid-19 Travel Update
With regards to Covid-19, we became a government-approved Gold Standard Hotel (Long Caye Adventure Camp), and Gold Standard Tour Operator (Slickrock Adventures), implementing extra sanitisation and safety measures, which won’t dampen the experience. Prevention and minimising risks, even without Covid-19 on the scene has been our priority. This is for your peace of mind, as well as our Slickrock team.
The Belize government’s requirement at this moment in time is simply a negative Rapid Antigen test 48 hours before arrival, or a negative PCR test 72 hours* before arrival, as well as downloading the travel app:
*The Belize government changed the PCR test back down to 72 hours, from 96 hours.
As of March, you won’t require a Covid test to enter Belize, if you have had both vaccinations and bring proof of this upon entry.
In accordance with CDC to re-enter the States, we have arranged a Rapid Antigen test for US$75 per person. They will come to Best Western as you arrive back from the island and you’ll get results within 30 minutes.
Covid-19 Cancellation Policy
If you are unable to travel due to restrictions placed on your home country or Belize by the government(s) or airlines, or if the resort is unable to open due to government restrictions, any paid bookings are eligible for rebooking for future dates of up to a year from your original check-in date. Guests will receive full credit for the amount paid to apply to the future rebooking dates, subject to availability.
As with previous terms, all cancellations are subject to a minimum US$100 administration fee, if not re-booked for an alternative date.