Belize Postpones Tourism Reopening, And Chaa Creek Agrees That Health and Safety Come First

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Belize has postponed the planned 15 August reopening of its international airport, a move The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s managing director said is frustrating, but will put Belize and Chaa Creek in position to offer visitors the safest, most carefree vacations possible.

A family in a Chaa Creek canoe surrounded by jungle while paddling the Macal River

Chaa Creek's nature-based Belize vacations are inherently healthy

one of the most rigorous safety programs the global travel industry has ever seen

“Not being able to welcome guests back this month is frustrating, but we wholeheartedly support the Government of Belize’s decision to postpone the August reopening of the international airport,” The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s managing director recently said.

"The health and safety of our visitors, employees and communities always have, and always will come first," she added.

Bryony Fleming Bradley was speaking about the government’s recent decision to postpone the planned reopening of Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), originally slated for 15 August 2020. But the arrival of new cases in Belize – which, until relatively recently had been COVID-free since April 2020, prompted the government to postpone reopening.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, like other Belize resorts, was forced to follow suit, even though it had just obtained Tourism Gold Standard certification.

The Belize Tourism Board launched the rigorous Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program to ensure the safety of both visitors and locals, with Chaa Creek quickly becoming one of the select properties to gain Gold Standard Certification.

The Gold Standard Certification also extends to the popular Belizean eco-resort’s transport and touring company, Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions.

“This means that, from pickup at Belize’s PGIA until we drop them back off, our guests are covered under one of the most rigorous safety programs the global travel industry has ever seen,” Ms Bradley explained.

Belize was widely recognized for having early success in managing the Coronavirus. Even before the virus reached pandemic stage, the Belize government took swift, dramatic action to control its borders and domestic population by introducing legislation that, at first, achieved success in keeping what was then a worldwide epidemic at bay.

However, with the number of cases climbing globally and regionally, it was only a matter of time before new cases appeared in Belize, Ms Bradley explained.

“It’s been so frustrating that, after adopting so many protocols and taking so many precautions, nationally and here at Chaa Creek, the Coronavirus still managed to find a way into Belize,” she said.

“But that’s the nature of this insidious virus,” she added.

As part of Belize’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program, Chaa Creek has appointed a full time, dedicated health and safety manager who is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And Brion Young says he’s staying busy, even while the resort is closed to overseas visitors.

“We want to be ready the day international flights resume, and that means making sure our enhanced hygiene procedures are in place and working. With such a wide variety of accommodations and amenities, not to mention a 400-acre private nature reserve and fleet of vehicles to maintain, we need to ensure that all surfaces are regularly and rigorously cleaned, and our people are healthy.

“It’s big job, but, like everything with Chaa Creek, it’s a labour of love, built on cooperation.

“And it means that, as soon as we get the green light to reopen, we’ll be ready to welcome guests with confidence,” Mr Young said.

Another reason for that confidence, he added, is the inherently healthy nature of Belize tourism and Chaa Creek vacations.

“With so many nature-based activities, an abundance of fresh air, and the way our accommodations and amenities are laid out, there’s plenty of open space and physical distancing already built into a Chaa Creek vacation.

“And with our already stringent hygiene and safety protocols enhanced to the highest possible levels, our guests can rest easy while they enjoy the casual luxury and wide range of healthy adventures Chaa Creek has always offered,” Mr Young said.

Ms Bradley said she can’t predict exactly when Belize and Chaa Creek will reopen to international travel, and encourages people to check with Chaa Creek’ s and the Belize Tourism Board’s websites for updates and further information, and to learn more about Belize’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program.

“We’re sure that the more people learn, the more relaxed they’ll feel about Chaa Creek’s Belize vacations. Being such a short hop from North America, and then knowing that from pickup to drop off they’re continually in the same good hands should help put travelers at ease.

“After these last few months being stuck at home, I’m sure visitors will be looking forward to being immersed in a pristine natural setting, enjoying swimming, canoeing and other healthy activities, not to mention our famously delicious farm-to-table dining.

“And I know all of us here are definitely looking forward to welcoming our guests again,” Ms Bradley said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi-award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize. It was recognised by National Geographic with first place honours at the 2017 World Legacy Awards held in Berlin.

ENDS

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Mark Langan
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