Belize airline drops trips here after taxes slow demand

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Tropic Air no longer flies to Mérida or Chetumal. Photo: Tropic Air

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye — Tropic Air suspended flights to Mérida and other cities after a tax hike made the trips substantially more expensive.

Belize’s hiked-up departure tax of a combined US$55, that tourists must pay before leaving the country, has made the country one of most region’s most pricy countries to visit.

The tax means trips across the border are less popular as travelers avoid the tax, hurting demand for international flights.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s administration introduced new taxes earlier this year to meet a projected US$80-plus million deficit.

The Belize Tourism Industry Association condemned the measures.

Belize-based Tropic Air announced, in a statement by CEO Steve Schulte, that it would suspend its flights to Chetumal and Mérida in Mexico, as well as to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, after Sept. 2.

Tropic Air started flights to Mérida three years ago, while Chetumal trips began earlier this year. Chetumal was a quick hop that brought travelers to connecting flights to larger cities.

Passengers with ticketed reservations for these flights will be contacted for new arrangements and refunds.

The statement by Tropic Air indicated that the decision, “comes after an in-depth analysis” of their performance over the last four months.

Tropic Air’s statement expressed regret for being unable to “sustain the growing losses.”

Flights to Cancun, Mexico; and Roatan and Flores, Guatemala, will continue.

Sources: Amandala, 7 News Belize

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