Saturday, April 20, 2024

Stakeholders claim not everyone consulted on BTB’s new protocols and guidelines

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The recently introduced protocols and guidelines for the accommodation sector by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) apparently caught some tourism stakeholders by surprise. The new measures designed to better operate during the COVID-19 pandemic focuses on health and safety protocols, and according to BTB, involved consultations before approval. However, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) indicated that individual members might have been consulted, but they, as an association was not.
The new protocols and guidelines – approved by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr. along with the Ministry of Health (MOH) – are geared for hotels and restaurants as they prepare to receive tourists. Some of these protocols include a Gold Standard certification and a designated Program Manager to implement and monitor the new measures on said property. This person will also act as the health liaison between the Ministry of Health, employees, and guests, as well as enforcing social distancing and the use of masks along with the deployment of technology to provide for online check-in/out, and contactless payment systems.
Other measures are the installation of hand hygiene and sanitization stations across the property. Enhanced room cleaning and sanitization of public spaces, temperature checks for guests and employees, and training are also outlined in the new protocol list.
BTB said via an email that stakeholders within the accommodation sector, particularly hoteliers who are members of the BTIA, were consulted in the drafting of these protocols, providing feedback and recommendations. BTIA still believes that proper consultation should have been done as BTB allegedly contacted individual members. Therefore, the business’s feedback is considered independent of BTIA, and BTB cannot say that the BTIA was consulted.
The new protocols and guidelines are mandatory for implementation. As the country continues to prepare for re-opening, BTB and MOH want to assure Belizeans and visitors that their health and safety are the highest priority.
We will have an update on how these protocols and guidelines work once implemented. The complete Accommodations Protocols can be found at https://bit.ly/3egSYlz.

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