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Mar 28, 2019

Small Tour Guides Ramp Up the Pressure against Big Tour Operators

Small tour guides are ramping up their protest at the lack of jobs even though, the B.T.B. continues to report significant increases in tourist arrivals. Today at the ITVET Compound in Belize City, members of the Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Workers Association staged a press conference to share the plight of the over two hundred tour guides and operators stationed outside of the Fort Street Tourism Village.  The tour operators claim that their bread and butter is being threatened by the larger operators. They claim they are being treated unfairly when it comes to the city and beach tours that they provide to cruise ship passengers. At the conference, they called on Mayor Bernard Wagner and the officials over at the Belize Tourism Board to intervene to assist the small entrepreneurs in the industry.

 

Jimmy Robinson

Jimmy Robinson, President, Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Workers Association

“When it first started, we were making money. Everybody was going home with money; the family was happy, we were paying our taxes, we were meeting our obligations to our lending institutions and whatnot. At this present time, since about ten years ago, we have been feeling the pinch since new players came onboard. And it appears that Belizean entrepreneurs not supposed to make money and we don’t think it is right.”

 

John Pollard

John Pollard, Member, Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Workers Association

“For the past two years and more, what has been killing us on the outside where we are is the buses doing tours in the city. These buses, which are fifty-five and sixty-seater buses, run city tour along with Altun Ha; city tour along with going to where the beach is. In the past, Belize City Council, who regularise the traffic within the city, had stopped these buses from running city tours. Lo and behold, right now, these buses continuously run city tours within the city limits, destroying our streets and taking away the jobs from us on the outside who do city dour and beach runs. I am calling on the mayor of Belize City to deal with this matter immediately for us. The train, the buses are stopping us from eating on the outside when it comes to doing city tour and when it comes to doing beach tour.”

 

Albert Alvarez

Albert Alvarez, Former President, Belize City Tourism Zone Tour Operators and Workers Association

“We have been working with tourist board. They have asked us to do stuff, we have done it. And if you go out there right now, it is a beautiful place to work; the environment has changed that you could go out there and people could come out and you could engage without being harassed. And so after doing all these things with tourist board, we still have no business outside. Now we have legitimate; we are legitimate small business people just like any other business entity around the country of Belize. And we love what we do as tour operators, as tour guides and we believe that tourist board is not doing their part in enabling our business.”


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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