Belize’s “Slow Season” Takes on New Meaning…and It’s Impossible to Predict When it Will End this Year
Our island, Ambergris Caye – in fact, our whole country of Belize…has been closed for about four months now. (Belize closed her borders officially to visitors on March 24, 2020 and that was expanded to include Belizean nationals on April 5, 2020. As of the end of June, businesses were allowed to open freely but the borders remain closed.)
So our “Tourist Season” – that normally runs from about December through August (with the high season from about Christmas to May) – was cut very short.
So while Belizeans seasons were never exactly black and white…things are even more blurry in 2020. Uncertainty even more…uncertain.
Our International Airport opens again on August 15 (that’ll be about 4 and 3/4 months closed in total) – but the influx will be limited for sure. To keep Belizeans as safe as possible, there will be strict limitations on entry requirements and movements within the country. See here for the information that we now know. And note: land borders are not opening yet.
In normal times, there is no set date for the beginning or end of “slow season”, “rainy season”, “low season” or “storm season”. No exact time when all tourists leave or when heavy rains move in. It’s a transition…visitor arrivals used to slow a bit into the summer and then things are downright sleepy in September and October.
Some businesses on the island would close for a few weeks or a few months – to relax…to give employees time off, the renovate or just because customers were few and far between.
This year some businesses have stayed closed since the end of March (especially hotels and tour companies and guides, a few opened to welcome Belize internal tourists – and some opened briefly and found that domestic tourism just wasn’t enough). Some businesses tried to give it a go – restaurants trying take-out and delivery – or have tried opening on weekends only. Some are able to eke out a living. I’ve heard that some are planning to close on August 15th when the International AIrport opens to visitors.
One thing I know for sure is that the slow season will be an extended and brutal one. One for the history books for sure.
I do know that no one can predict when “slow season” will be over. I don’t think there is any way to separate COVID and tourism (or even COVID and the general world economy). Until the virus is under control, it’s going to be very tough to have tourism back in any robust way. Especially with Belize’s commitment to the health of her citizens.
When do you think that the number of visitor arrivals will be 50% of the same month in 2019?
For example…will April 2021 Arrival numbers be 50% of 2019’s April 2019 arrivals?
Yesterday I posted some photos of our island’s beloved Truck Stop – stating that they were closing for the season. I got a bunch of questions in response – “How Long Do they close for?” and “When will they be re-opening?”
Ben, one of the owners of the Truck Stop, was able to tell me that last year they closed from the last week of August and re-opened in mid-October.
But 2020? Your guess is as good as mine. I am quite certain they are hoping for earlier – November – rather than later.
Here are my photos of The Truck Stop. We hope to see you VERY soon.
Especially you homemade chipwich.
I was there at the in-between time. The lunch crowd had passed…and the music wasn’t starting just yet. There was a crowd at the pool but I didn’t want to be the bathing suit paparazzi.
So it looks quiet…but then…this is the quiet season.
Let me know what you think! I’d love to know your predication for my 50% question!