Tourism: Far Light at the End of the Tunnel

The lack of definition of the date when Guatemala's borders will be reopened causes uncertainty among local entrepreneurs in the sector, which is going through one of the most severe crises due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

As a result of the spread of the virus, the Guatemalan authorities suspended commercial flights and closed the borders to tourists. In addition, tourist sites were ordered to be closed and the movement of people between departments restricted.

The country is preparing to de-escalate the confinement and in early June, the government published in the Diario de Centroamérica the Ministerial Agreement specifying the four phases that will be applied to lift the quarantine and reactivate economic activity in the country.

Check out the "System for monitoring markets and economic situation in Central American countries" by CentralAmericaData.

Despite the fact that the route for lifting the restrictions is outlined, businessmen in the sector are concerned that none of the four phases of the de-escalation or resumption of activities due to the covid-19 outbreak have included opening the borders.

Motty Rodas, executive director of the Guatemalan Airline Association (Agla), told Prensalibre.com that "... We view with concern the uncertainty caused by a lack of firm definition of the date for reopening Guatemala's borders. Although the air navigation information documents (called Notam) issued by Guatemala reported that the borders would be opened for flights on June 12, the date was postponed to June 30 and may be further postponed as it has been on several occasions before."

Luis Rey, president of the Guatemala Chamber of Tourism (Camtur), explained that the organization he presides over "... will propose to the Federation of Chambers of Tourism of Central America (Fedecatur) that the governments of the countries in the area be asked to work on standardized protocols to facilitate the resumption of activities and operation of airlines."

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Businessmen in Guatemala estimate that patients who visit the country with the aim of buying medical treatment will take between 9 months and a year to regain confidence in making the trip.

The sector is practically paralyzed, since due to the covid-19 outbreak worldwide, several countries have decided to close their borders and air terminals, and airlines are keeping their units on the ground.

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