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Aug 19, 2004

Tour operators boycott Goff’s Caye

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On August First, the Costal Zone Management Authority and Institute, which manages Goff’s Caye, put into effect a ten U.S. dollar entrance fee for tourists visiting the island. It was estimated that through this new system, CZMAI would earn approximately one hundred and forty-four thousand Belize dollars a month during the high season, and ninety-four thousand during the low season, largely from cruise ship tourists. The money collected would be used to sustain CZMAI and its work. Last month, many tour operators said because they work on advanced fixed contracts, they would have problems absorbing the added cost. It’s a risk it appears that the tour operators were not willing to take and now CZMAI is once again in a bind. Today the authority confirmed to News 5 that as of the beginning of August, no Cruise ship tourists have been to Goff’s Caye and the only visitors to the island have been the twenty to twenty-five overnight tourists visiting daily from San Pedro and Caye Caulker. According to a CZMAI spokesperson, they did consult with tour operators to find a workable solution, but to no avail. One suggestion was to charge a lesser fee, but on the condition that they pay the ten dollars charge from November First. According to CZMAI, as they wait to see what plans their new minister Mike Espat may have to address the issue, the Authority says they have become concerned about another situation. According to Coastal Zone officials, the tour operators have been taking the cruise ship tourists to nearby locations like tiny Sergeant’s Caye, which they say has now become so overcrowded with visitors that there is a risk of environmental damage.

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