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Feb 2, 2018

Tour Operators from Fort George Unite

We have been continuously chronicling issues regarding the tour operators, guides and other workers in the Fort George Tourism Zone for some years now. Often we are called out to cover disputes between operators and the Tourism Board and Belize City Council, and on occasion among themselves. More recently it has involved usage of the Memorial Park and accompanying worries about loss of business. While officially it has been in existence for one year, the lengthily-named Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Guides Association has an overarching promise to its members: to make their lives better. Aaron Humes reports from a meeting held at Old Belize today.

 

Jimmy Robinson

Jimmy Robinson, Vice-President, Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Guides Assn.

“For approximately six to seven years now, we have been experiencing different changes at the Tourism Village, especially non-organization loss of revenue especially with Norwegian moving from the Belize City area and moving down south. And that definitely brought about as I said earlier, loss of revenue for us, so in order to safeguard ourselves and our piece of the pie, that we take this stand at this point in time.”

 

Reporter

“Now I know that you have been operating independently for several years, how do you expect the information of this association to improve the situation for tour operators right now?”

 

Jimmy Robinson

“By representing the various tour operators in my capacity as vice-president – Mr. Alvarez as you know is president, and the other executive that was presented earlier – we are working hand-in-hand with the Belize Tourism Board, in order to safeguard our interests; giving them suggestions, receiving suggestions from them and presenting a very good package to the guests that arrive to our country.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The complaints among the humble membership of the Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Guides Association are myriad, from the attitudes and behavior of management of the cruise ships and the Belize Tourist Village to working with them to showcase the best of Belize, to support from the Belize Tourism Board.

 

Jimmy Robinson

“I think that the B.T.B. could be much more supportive; some of the concerns that we have brought to the B.T.B. in meetings gone by is for us to have some representation on the Board and to be able to market us on the ships. Because the bigger companies, thye literally have personnel on the ship that would talk one on one basis to the guests on the ship. If we could have also that opportunity and also at the cruise ship level representing us on the outside as tour operators, definitely that would bring some more business to us.”

 

So far there are one hundred and fifty members including the twelve tour operators that originally came together to form the organization, but Robinson said there is always room for more, from across the country. And priority number one is addressing the concerns raised by the membership – and persuading them to follow the law.

 

Jimmy Robinson

“We have been recognized by the Belize Tourism Board, first of all. We have a very, very good working condition with the Belize Tourism Board. There are a few glitches here and there as with anything but all in all I could say that it’s good, the working conditions between our association and the Belize Tourism Board. What happens though, at times there is a lot of people that abiding by the law is hard, so that is what we tend to find sometimes among the guides, that they really don’t want to abide by certain regulations. For instance, we have a rotation system, we have an area that is designated for the tour operators and another area that is designated for the guides. And sometimes they would want to encroach on our space and we would have to say no, you have to follow the regulations. And the reason they would want to encroach is because it’s easy access to the guests that do come out of the gate, whereby they would be able to approach them firstly to get a job. But we explain to them that if you do it orderly, we can all go home with some money.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Elections to the executive are expected annually.

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