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Jul 22, 2015

B.T.B. Certifies Tour Operators at FST Zone

A third cohort of provisional tour guides are now fully trained to operate in the Fort George Tourism Zone.  At a brief ceremony, the Belize Tourism Board presented them with certificates which qualify them to acquire the Belize City Community Site Guide license. The group of sixty-four guides completed training on the General Principles for Professional Tour Guiding, which gives them the fundamentals of tour guiding delivery techniques as front line professionals in the sector.  Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Professionalism and quality service are key factors of success of the tourism industry and the front line persons, with whom visitors interact on a daily basis, are vendors and tour operators working out of the Fort George Tourism Zone. In an effort to provide the best possible approach to selling the Belizean product, the Belize Tourism Board two years ago began training tour guides in an effort to regularize the system of operators within the zone. Today, a third cohort of guides received their certification to operate within Belize City.

 

Valdemar Andrade

Valdemar Andrade, Director of Cruise & Regional Operations, B.T.B.

“This process started in 2014 when we did the first heritage tour training and from there sixty-seven guides were regularized where we trained people on different aspects of Belize City itself. Information on the general core of Belize City and also some delivery techniques. I have to say I was very impressed by the first cohort. I know many of you suffered through the practicals because you were wondering what we were doing to get you to a certain level. The point is to get you to a level of delivering a product that we are proud of and that will support the Belize brand. So today, we are finishing the third cohort for the general principles for professional tour guiding which gives you the fundamentals of tour guiding delivery techniques and some additional information on Belize City. Let me say that this includes horse and Carriage people. This includes also taxi and tour guides on a whole and so today, this cohort will receive two certificates because they did two trainings in one that Mister Rudy oversaw and delivered.”

 

One entrepreneur, who felt it necessary to get his guides fully certified, is John Pollard. Pollard, the proprietor of Big John Tours employs over fifty guides, and between the three cohorts, all of them have been certified.

 

John Pollard

John Pollard, Owner, Big John Tours

“Andrew Longsworth, Mister Valdemar and others decided that they were going to give a course for everyone to be regularized. It was not a free course as in giving you that license, but you had to go to school for that period in doing what we did.”

 

Reporter

“Does it help the guides in their education in their ability to deliver service?”

 

John Pollard

“Yes, this one in particular helps for tour guides and for non-tour guides in doing the special city guide. It went very deep in doing service for the customers in the city of Belize as they move along.”

 

But this is just the first step in the process because according to Director of Cruise and Regional Operations for the B.T.B., Valdemar Andrade, come August first, those guides without licenses will not be able to operate in the Fort George Tourism Zone.

 

Valdemar Andrade

“With the tourism police unit, it is important to note that with this license, you will only be allowed to guide in Belize City proper. And that is the instructions and the standard operating procedures that they will get in terms of this. It will have a specific look, a specific logo on it so that you will only be able to guide in Belize City proper. Come August first, there will be no unlicensed guide tolerated in the Fort George Tourism Zone. So this two-year process has been imperative to ensure that we are able to reach to that point. If we are going to have a brand out there, a Belize brand and a product that’s going to be at a certain level and that has to create a certain level of expectation in the visitor and the return and investment for what they are paying, then we have to ensure a certain quality and standard in you delivering that.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Present for the certificate handing over was Mr. Rodolfo Burgos, B.T.B. trainer for tour guides.

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