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Belizean visitors down since Mexico implements new visa rules

Chetumal, Q.R. — Now that residents of Belize have to apply to enter Mexico, the Belizian consul in the state’s capital city of Chetumal says visitors from the neighboring country have decreased by 30 percent.

Luis Montero, consul of Belize in Chetumal, says that now that the Mexican government requires Belize residents to apply for visas to enter the country, Belizean tourism to the city of Chetumal has seen a sharp decrease.

While he agrees that Mexico has every right to impose immigration control measures, the process is incredibly slow, inhibiting tourism, saying that on average, only 25 visitor visas are granted per day. He says due to this slow process, Belize residents can wait up to three months to visit the state of Quintana Roo.

When applied for in person, he explains the process is equally as cumbersome since there is only one INM line for the process and often a line of more than two hours wait. Montero notes that before Mexico revoked the free pass for Belize residents, there was an estimated 30,000 visitors to the city of Chetumal per month, a figure that rose to 50,000 during holidays.

Some Belize residents, however, have attempted to avoid the new legal visa system and cross illegally. Since the new rules were put into effect in April, 15 Belize nationals have been detained in checkpoints around the state for illegal entry.

Montero encourages Belizean nationals to process their entry into Mexico legally.