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Happy Birthday Lucy – August Update

By Slickrock Adventures on August 2, 2021

Dear Slickrock Friends,

I trust all’s well with you and yours.


I would like to wish Lucy Wallingford a very Happy Birthday today. She joined Cully’s journey way back in 1986, until retiring in 2018, although she is still a very valued member of the Slickrock family.

Growing up in Austin, Texas, but residing in Moab, Utah, she was absolutely instrumental in Slickrock’s growth from humble beginnings to a multi-country, international operation. From the USA to Mexico, Belize, to Honduras and Guatemala, finally just focusing on Belize.

Marketing, paperwork, guiding, island managing, phone calls, even the (now) somewhat redundant fax machine messages, payments, building the website, writing the brochures, you name it, she was the one steering the ship with Cully. Thirty-two years of hard graft is no mean feat.

Even Queen Elizabeth II met Lucy in Belize during 1994, or vice versa.

I will be forever grateful for her and Cully putting the trust in me to carry on their Slickrock baby, and no matter what the Covid nightmare brought, we will make them proud.

Onwards and Upwards

Things are looking up, with regards to international travel.

United Airlines will add about 150 daily flights to warm-weather destinations across the U.S. and Latin America, starting in November 2021 and continuing through March 2022.

In total, the airline is adding 137 flights on peak days compared to its 2019 schedule, all heading to winter hotspots.

You can now book direct flights with United Airlines to Belize from Houston, Chicago, Denver, Newark, and Los Angeles.


More good news, there’s yet another carrier that is brand new to Belize.

Frontier Airlines have just announced direct flights to Belize from Orlando and Denver, commencing December 11th, 2021. Mega-cheap tickets are already on https://www.flyfrontier.com/

More than 125,000 Belizeans are partially vaccinated and more than 50,000 are fully vaccinated.

The United Kingdom donated 42,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca doses to Belize in late July, which is part of their 100 million dose surplus going to developing countries.

Belize has primarily been using AstraZeneca vaccine donated from Mexico, Barbados through India, and the COVAX program of the World Health Organization, which it bought last year. Belize was donated Sputnik vaccine by Russia, and has used the Sinopharm vaccine from China, mainly for the local Belizean-Taiwanese and Belizean-Chinese population.

The Belizean government is being extremely responsible for tourists’ safety, as well as that of Belizeans, and indeed the economy. The Belize economy is officially just shy of 45% for tourism, based on GDP. In reality, as we see on the ground, it is way more than that. Agriculture, banking, legal and professional services, transport, local airlines, shops, restaurants, food and beverage suppliers are heavily reliant on tourists, and in turn, resorts.

Even though Belize has kept a lid on Covid compared to other countries, with a mask and curfew in place since April 2020 to stem the flow, Prime Minister, Right Honourable Johnny Briceño has increased prevention (instead of cure), so all visitors to Belize require a negative test to Belize, even if vaccinated. Even though this is a bit of a pain, the country is one of the worst-affected economies on the planet due to Covid, and any minimisation of Covid spreading, especially the Delta variant, is politically criticised but is the morally responsible thing to do, in my opinion.

With the implementation of vaccines becoming the norm, we are finally seeing Covid’s grey clouds dissipate, with a flicker of sunshine in the distance.

Due to this, we have now officially opened up most weeks for general bookings, starting 3rd December 2021, until June 2022, possibly longer. The only caveat being a minimum of 15 guests per trip, and we will offer travel credit to re-book another week.

We are still getting several enquiries for private charters, as well as quite a few confirmed already. Christmas is sold out, and New Year’s has the last five spaces left.

We are still offering private charters on a first-come-first-served basis.

As the hurricane season starts in Belize, we’re putting the wind in our sails to come back bigger and better than years gone by.

I wouldn’t say financial backing, but to have someone back you and believe in what you’re doing is pretty powerful, at least in my eyes.

I had that as a somewhat lost teenager, with mentors and friends believing in me setting up my own mobile zoo. I guess that is why I became so passionate about taking over Slickrock when looking in the mirror, as I want to show the team I met ten years ago that I believe in them and want to give them a huge opportunity to come up the ladder, whilst indirectly continue working with wildlife via the eco-tourism.

Not only that, but make Cully and Lucy proud that their Slickrock baby would continue to grow under the watch of very dedicated staff they very carefully chose, interviewed, trained, and mentored over the years. American, Canadian, and British guides have trained our team over the years, and I am dedicated to keeping the training and morale to a top, professional level. Even things we often take for granted, like financial stability, socialising with colleagues outside of work, and growing through your employment role, aren’t always a given in Belize.

Monthly team building days, year-round stability, ongoing tweaks to the business and infrastructure, as well as training, are just a few of the things I’m hyper-focused on, as I gradually step back from the day-to-day management. I know the team can run it with their eyes closed, I have that much confidence in them. Just building up their confidence to do so is the only thing, but having a say in the business and being part of a profit share is my way of showing the reward to their years of dedication, way before I appeared with the keys to the island.

It is very easy to put “isms” next to anything. Socialism, capitalism, and so on. Slickrock, our parent and sister companies are all for-profit, with proceeds being reinvested and shared amongst the very people who run the business. Ownership is the spark that turns it from a job to a passion, or at least can be.

Making that offer to the amazing staff that have dedicated between five to twenty-three years of their lives to a business, is only a good thing, in my eyes.

From the nucleus of Slickrock, other sister businesses will come to fruition. Ethical investments in the form of eco-products and eco-tourism is the path we’re heading on.

As I hope you’ll see in the years to come, we have a very special family at Long Caye, who have the opportunity to grow in their personal lives, which is so deserved after them making Slickrock what it is today.

There’s no “I” in team, and with every member of the team now going in the same direction with the vision in store, it really is music to my ears.

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 changes going forward is discontinuing the 10% discount for repeat guests, and child rates 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 only.

We look forward to welcoming you back, or for the first time.

Whether the island was a fond memory, or on your bucket list, we’re here to help answer any questions you may have.

If there are any questions you may have, please don’t think “what if”. We’re here to help, and Marcy or Jose would be more than happy to go through anything that comes to mind.

The head office is open 9 am – 5 pm (Belize time) between Monday and Friday.

Thanks for your support in the past, present, or future.

Cheers,
Phil Dowsett

CEO – Slickrock Adventures
+1 800-390-5715
slickrock@slickrock.com

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 96 hours before arrival

As of 5th August 2021, you will still require a Covid test to enter Belize, even if you have had both vaccinations, and bring proof of this upon entry.

https://belizetourismboard.org/belize-covid-19-update-for-travellers/

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.