Dear Slickrock Friends,th February, the Belize government has decided to bring in mandatory insurance to help reassure tourists with potential additional quarantine and medical expenses.
As we slide into 2022, and the ongoing saga with Covid, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As of 15
Tourism is the backbone of the country, often touted as 42% of GDP, when in fact, the other industries feed into the same tourism nucleus, literally, when it comes to agriculture, construction, banking, indirect employment sectors, and the knock-on effect of interlinking industries.
Whilst we enter our 45th year in business, and 36th year in the beautiful country of Belize, we have always advised upon comprehensive travel insurance from day dot, even more so since Covid appeared on the scene. With the situation being more fluid than water, we are offering goodwill with our Covid cancellation policy, with 12 months travel credit if you are unable to make it to us due to Covid, or the knock-on effect of cancelled flights etc. Whilst our advice hasn’t changed, you will be glad to hear there will be a very affordable option, or mandatory policy, rather, that will be available from the Belize Government.
NEW TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ONLINE
Belize City, Belize, February 7th, 2022: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is pleased to announce that the travel health insurance required from all visitors upon entry to Belize with effect from Feb. 15, 2022, is now available for purchase online at https://www.belizetravelinsurance.com.
The Belize Travel Insurance is mandatory and will help protect travelers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses, if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Belize.
The Insurance Plan, available for $18.00 US, provides coverage for up to $50,000 USD in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days including lodging expenses due to quarantine up to $2,000 USD (max $300/day USD). Travelers will also be covered for emergency assistance services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, it will also cover trip cancellations and expenses incurred by COVID-19 positive travelers for extended stays.
Some important entry highlights are listed below:
- Airlines are not required to verify that a traveler has a purchased insurance policy upon check-in. Verification of travelers will take place at the Phillip Goldson International Airport in Belize by the Immigration Department of Belize.
- It is recommended that travelers purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance prior to their travel to Belize. However, purchases can be made upon arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport or at Belize’s land borders.
- Exempted from purchasing the insurance are QRPs, Belizeans & permanent residents, foreign homeowners, long-stay non-nationals, military personnel, Peace Corps, airline crew and persons in Belize for less than 24 hours are exempted.
Although advised to get in advance, it will indeed be available upon arrival, should you forget, or be spinning too many plates before you travel. In addition (whether vaccinated or not), a negative PCR test is required up to 96 hours before arrival, or a negative Rapid Antigen test 48 hours before arrival, are mandatory, to try and minimise the Covid spread, which has been a sucker-punch to the economy for nigh on two years. Whilst we can’t avoid it, and in reality, need to learn to live with this virus, we will continue to minimise the risk, always. With the extra peace of mind of US$2,000 quarantine expenses and US$50,000 medical expenses being covered by a mere US$18, hopefully a trip to Long Caye isn’t too daunting in the current climate.
I am planning to get the business through the Covid storm, then step back (not step down) from the business and gradually hand over extra responsibilities to management, after dedicating over three years of seven-day, 15–20-hour days to Slickrock’s survival.
On that subject, the newest member of the management team is Doreth Lewis, whom many of you may have known from years gone by.
He will work in tandem with Magdaleno (aka MJ) as island manager, who are both learning the ropes from our veteran island manager of 23 years, Charlie Woodward.
This is another step in the right direction, to continue with my goal of Belizean management, which is crucial to our long-term future. You will see me shining the spotlight on the team, always, as it all about them, not me.
John Ariola (in 1997)
When I visited the island for the second time in 2011, although the first time with guests, I met a really friendly and humble chap, who turned out to be Doreth, who worked as a dive instructor for Off The Wall back then. As well as the Slickrock team, I had a good sixth sense about working with him one day in the future, as he seemed sincere, centred, and respectful. Over a decade later, and after managing Belize Underwater, a large dive operation, I am glad to welcome him to the extended team. He has known everyone for many moons, so I know his addition is a positive development, to our new chapter. On a slight side note, Doreth used to visit Slickrock as a 12 year old. Back then we were initially based at North-East Caye, then Long Caye. His older brother John Ariola was one of Cully and Lucy’s first ever Belizean guides, and stayed with the business for 15 years. It feels right to rebuild the business with experienced and passionate Belizeans at the helm, and it is a nice fit that we have come full circle with Slickrock family members coming into the fold from their first visit 30+ years later.
We plan to close in a few weeks time, at the end of April for this season.
Stay safe, and hopefully see you amongst the sun, and coconut palms this season.
All the best,