The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we think about travel, including where we stay. As Belize’s tourism industry prepares to reopen for tourism, the health and safety of the country is more important than ever to mitigate risk of COVID-19. To meet these challenges and expectations, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) launches its Gold Standard Recognition Program for hotels, alongside the country’s national tourism guidelines. Once the country reopens on August 15, international guests will be limited to Gold Standard recognized hotels only in this first phase.
Being recognized as a “Gold Standard Hotel”
Essentially, the Gold Standard is a 9-point recognition program to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards. This is by adapting new behaviors and procedures to ensure both employees and travellers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product. These new protocols are focused on enhanced hotel and restaurant cleaning practices, social interactions, workplace policies, and standard operating procedures while ensuring minimal impact on the guest experience. Properties will go through a declaration process to receive “Tourism Gold Standard Recognition”.
Full Service Accommodations
When international leisure travel to Belize resumes on August 15, hotels will reopen in a phased approach. The first grouping of hotels that will be allowed to accept international booking include properties that:
- Have achieved the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition, and
- Provide full service to guests. This means that these hotels are able to provide all amenities, so as to contain the guest on the property, and minimize opportunities for guest interaction within the local community. Not to mention, these amenities include having transportation to offer pick-up/drop-off services from the airport; access to a restaurant on property; have a pool or access to beach front; and be able to provide isolated tours, limited to guests of the property only.
In addition, each Gold Standard approved hotel in Belize is expected to have the following implemented:
- Social distancing and the use of face masks while in public spaces
- Online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering/booking systems
- Hand sanitizing stations across the property
- Enhanced room cleaning and increase sanitization of public spaces and high touch surfaces
- Daily health checks for guests and employees
- Designated ‘Isolation/Quarantine rooms’ for suspected COVID-19 cases and action plans for handling suspected employees or guests.