Travellers to Belize require travel and health insurance as of February 2022. The Belize Tourism Board, the official tourism organization for Belize, announced that in an effort to further protect the health and well-being of international visitors and Belizeans from COVID-19, that it has released new safe travel standards for any persons entering the country. Effective February 15, 2022, all visitors are required to apply for Belize Travel Health Insurance – a mandatory insurance that helps protect travelers against incurred medical and non-medical expenses if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay in Belize.
The cost of the policy is US$18. and provides coverage for up to US$50,000. in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days. This insurance plan comes under the country’s public health regulations and provides cover for lodging expenses due to quarantine up to US$2,000. (max US$300.). Travelers will also be covered for emergency assistance services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to pre-existing conditions. Furthermore, it covers trip cancellations and expenses incurred by COVID-19 positive travelers for extended stays.
Some important entry highlights are listed below:
- 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
- Visitors must purchase Belize Travel Health Insurance and are required to complete the Customs and Immigration form that is provided on all flights to Belize.
- Exempted from this mandatory insurance are Belizean nationals, permanent residents and travelers with QRP (Qualified Retirement Program) or Long Stay status and flight crews.
- All international tourists must book accommodations at a Gold Standard property and present confirmation at immigration.
- All travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, entering Belize through the Philip Goldson International Airport from other countries will be 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 USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years will not be required to present a negative test.
The BTB says that in the past year, Belize has implemented several traveler protocols to keep visitors feeling safe, including the Tourism Gold Standard Program and Travel Belize app, which enables travelers to seamlessly plan their vacation with certified hotels and tour operators (an entry requirement). The new Travel Health Insurance mandate underscores Belize’s commitment to health and safety, enhancing travel confidence and giving visitors peace of mind to schedule that well-deserved vacation for 2022 and beyond.
The Belize Travel Health Insurance is now available for purchase online at https://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.
Trip Cancellation – Sacrificing Your Dream Vacation
You may be planning a trip to Belize because your partner is a history buff who wants to experience the country’s Top Ten Maya Archeological Wonders. Or you may want to go spelunking in the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. That’s where you can see the calcified skeletons left behind more than a thousand years ago when the Maya held ritual sacrifices to their gods. Or you may be yearning to swim and snorkle with sharks and sting rays at the world-famous Shark Ray Alley. But, as you’re watching documentaries on the Travel Channel, your trip plans could come to a halt because of a sudden emergency.
If, three days before your trip to Belize, your 11-year old is hospitalized for a health issue for example bacterial meningitis, you will have to cancel your trip. As long as you cancel for a reason listed in your travel insurance policy, your trip cancellation insurance can reimburse you for prepaid and non-refundable expenses. That means you can file a claim to get your money back for that guided bonefishing trip among the 200 coral islands that comprise the Turneffe Islands Atoll.
Acceptable reasons to cancel generally include:
Death of a travel companion or a close family member
A serious family emergency
Other unforeseen problems as specified by your policy
Details vary by insurance company, so be sure to review your policy so you know what’s covered under trip cancellation. The Belize Tourism Board backed Travel Health Insurance Plan covers trip cancellation.
Belize Tourism Industry Association Endorses Travel Health Insurance
BTIA spokesman Stewart Krohn:
“When I was initially informed about it, I was kind of naturally opposed to it, for two main reasons, one was that it plays an additional burden financial burden on tourists coming in and we thought this would be a deterrent for tourists who already saddled with some of the highest extra charges in the region to come to Belize and secondly in it’s original incarnation, this was a mandatory plan that was tied to a single insurance company. We have been reasonably assured that the ability to sell this insurance is being thrown open to any insurance company that meets the minimum qualifications of integrity and reinsurance and the other is that given the evolving situation, that slight added cost of a visit to Belize given the Omicron and perhaps future variants and the feeling that COVID-19 is here to stay, having insurance and knowing that everyone has to have insurance will actually make out visitors feel better.
“We have to understand looking at this thing from a visitors point of view, the worse nightmare any visitor to Belize can imagine, is coming to Belize and while you’re here when your taking your test just before you go home, it’s positive. So now your world is turned upside down because you can’t leave Belize. You don’t know when you’re going to test negative, you’re not sure who is going to pay for your hotel room, who’s going to pay for your medical care should you need it. What this provision of insurance is it takes away all that worry and I would add personally at my resort, our intention is for all our visitors when they make reservations, we will pay their insurance premium for them. They way we have to look at it is Belize as a country is competing in the tourism with 200 other countries. In the region, it’s every Caribbean country, it’s Costa Rica, it’s Mexico, it’s a tough competition, anything that we can do to ease the mind of visitors is a good thing and we believe essentially, if we can offer a potential guest who are trying to decide whether to go to Costa Rica, Playa Del Carmen or Placencia, if we can entice them by saying look, we’re going to buy you a $50,000 insurance policy, that’s got to be a good thing and any resort can afford the 18 dollars, I think it’s great marketing tool.”
Belize Hotel Association And Industry Stakeholders Oppose New Travel Insurance Requirement
And while some stakeholder groups have backed this decision, 15 of the major hotels in Belize – including Chaa Creek, Blancaneaux Lodge, Turtle Inn, Alaia, and more – have sent a letter to the minister in protest of the new requirement. They say that other countries in the region are relaxing their restrictions while Belize is doubling down on strict measures, and this might put the country at a disadvantage compared to its competition.