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Jan 27, 2003

New programme trains city tour guides

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The phenomenal boom in Belize City’s cruise ship trade has spawned new opportunities in hair braiding and informal retailing. Today I found that moves are afoot to create yet another cruise related job category: city tour guide.

Roland Blair, Tour Guide Instructor

“You can even lose your license if you get drunk on a job, so don’t accept alcohol.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

This morning, over thirty young people from Belize City began a weeklong crash course, entitled “How to be a tour guide”. The course material includes practical tips about proper conduct of tour guides and general information about Belize.

Julie Simpson, 19 years old

“I plan to keep learning cause that’s what I like best about the training. I learnt a lot of things.”

Janelle Chanona

“Like what?”

Julie Simpson

“I learnt about the thousand foot falls, that its not really the thousand foot fall, that its actually six hundred foot, and not a thousand. They have other things such as the name of the snake and how we Belizeans call it different things, but we have to be professional and give them the correct name as well as the ones that we call it.”

Janelle Chanona

“What sort of things you like most about being a tour guide that made you want to be one?”

Iris Gonzalez, 22 years old

“Well because I’d like to help with the tourists and show them the most important things in Belize, how nice is Belize and all those stuffs.”

According to instructor Roland Blair, this first batch of recruits will be licensed to conduct city tours on foot to cruise ship passengers.

Roland Blair

“They’ll be telling them about the history and pointing out the important spots, like starting in the Fort George area, we have a lot of historical spots there, coming all around through the city to the centre of town, and as we all know we have our heritage sites like the Anglican Cathedral.”

Janelle Chanona

“So it’s the landmarks we’re accustomed to seeing.”

Roland Blair

“Mostly of the landmarks that we are accustomed to see, but what we’re going to do is teaching them the history about it so they will be able to tell the people everything about it.”

The course is a joint effort by the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Youth for the Future initiative. At the end of the training, the participants will receive a badge and certificate. Some graduates may be inspired to go even further.

Shaun Bennett, 21 years old

“I will take another course after this one, when I have accepted my badge and certificate and my license, because it’s our license that we’re trying for right now.”

But to be sure, many of these young men and women will have to overcome their shyness before they hit the streets.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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