Effective mid-February, tourists will be required to purchase Health and Travel Insurance when traveling to Belize
Thursday, January 13th, 2022
Starting February 15, 2022, foreign visitors to Belize will be required to purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance (BTHI) to help protect travelers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses should they test positive for COVID-19 when vacationing in Belize. This insurance can be purchased upon arrival via the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) or at the land borders.
The announcement was made by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) on Thursday, January 13, explaining that the cost of the travel and health insurance is US$18/ BZ$36 and provides coverage up to US$50,000/ BZ$100,000 in medical expenses related to the treatment of COVID-19 for 21 days. According to the BTB, the insurance plan will come online under the country’s public health regulations and provide cover for lodging expenses for quarantine up to US$2,000/ BZ$4,000 or around US$300/BZ$600 a day. Other insurance benefits include the coverage of emergency services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to a pre-existing condition. In addition, the policy will also cover trip cancellations and costs incurred by COVID-19 positive travelers for extended stays.
To maximize the protection of the health and wellbeing of foreign visitors and Belizeans from the virus, the BTB highlighted some crucial aspects of the newly legislated safety protocols.
- Visitors must purchase the BTHI and are required to complete the Customs and Immigration form provided on all flights to Belize.
- Exempt from this mandatory insurance are Belizean nationals, permanent residents, and travelers with Qualified Retired Persons or Long Stay status and flight crews.
- All international tourists must book accommodations at a Gold Standard property and present confirmation at immigration.
COVID-19 tests still required to enter the country
All vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers entering Belize through the PGIA from other countries are required to present a negative COVID-19 test. If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of US$50/BZ$100 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 will not be required to present a negative test.
Health and Travel Insurance will relieve financial burden for COVID-19 tourists
Health and travel insurance was an option discussed at the Ministry of Tourism as tourists testing positive with the virus before departure are forced to extend their stay at their own expense. Such policy became the option to help those affected. In an interview, President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Stewart Krohn, said on January 5th that some hotels reduce their rates by 50% to accommodate those who are forced to stay longer. He believes that such a requirement (travel insurance) will alleviate the financial burden on visitors and hotels. It will build people’s confidence knowing that the health and travel insurance will cover their expenses if they need to extend their stay after testing positive for the virus.
While some hotels will include the insurance price in their vacation packages, Krohn, who owns a resort in Placencia, said his business will pay the insurance for their guests.
The mandatory requirement underscores Belize’s commitment to health and safety. While at the same time enhancing travel confidence and giving visitors peace of mind when they visit the Jewel.
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