We have all been waiting for some promising news for many months now, and it seems like the announcement of a vaccine might be that ray of light. Obviously, this is something that will take months to deploy, but it gives us all, as citizens of every country in the world, something to hold on to, that soon, we may be able to return to some form of normality.
Here in Belize we have been dealing with the second wave in the same way many other countries have, stepping up precautions both on land and with regard to travel and day-to-day activities. People are still traveling here. American Airlines operates flights between Goldson International Airport and Miami, and starting in December, it will increase its number of flights to Charlotte N.C. and Dallas/Fort Worth.
American has teamed up with LetsGetChecked.com, which offers home health tests including COVID-19. Currently, travelers must complete their testing within 72 hours of departure, and those who do not take a test must do so upon arrival at Belize airport. If the test is positive, they will be required to quarantine at their hotel.
But the ray of light still exists. According to TravelPulse.com, several new luxury resorts will be opening in Belize in 2021, including one on Ambergris Caye itself. These resorts offer a different type of stay than we provide, so I can’t consider them direct competition, rather I am pleased to see that they are going ahead. Their promotional budgets will do a lot to bring Belize to the front of mind for people who are looking forward to indulging themselves after such a difficult and tragic time. We continue to maintain our own quiet and relaxing form of tropical getaway, and we are always ready to take care of you safely.
One of the things that people have noticed during this year of reduced travel and activities of all sorts is the return of birds, fish and other wildlife to areas that humankind had driven away by pollution, noise and activity. There had been sightings of dolphins in the canals of Venice, for example, and birdwatchers in heavily populated countries like England had noticed an increase in the amount and variety of bird calls, since the birds did not have to compete so hard against the noise of traffic and industry.
Such stories make me and other Belizeans very happy, since we are a nature-loving country. I have already written about our own bird populations as well as the amazing underwater life that you can visit directly in a scuba tour.
I was thrilled to read the announcement that on November 6th of this year, the Government of Belize formally signed legislation that prohibits the use and possession of gill nets in all coastal waters of Belize. This will allow for long-term protection of our natural marine resources as well as game fish such as permit, tarpon, and bonefish, while helping the people who work in the fishing industry to fish more sustainably or even transition into other forms of work.
As written about by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, Dr. Rachel Graham, Founder and Executive Director of Belize-based MarAlliance, a coalition member organization and a leader in marine conservation efforts, this law shows the world that it is possible to ban destructive fishing gear. In less than a week, news of this Belize net ban and the roadmap to its enactment has already spread to other countries in Latin America, inspiring conversations with fishers on the possibility of enacting a similar ban in their waters.”
So I am hoping that these stories show genuine optimism for our aquatic wildlife as well as for those of you who plan to come and visit them. This has been a long, hard year, and the troubles aren’t entirely over yet. But with hope there comes strength and resolve. We look forward to sharing these rays of light with you.