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Oct 31, 2019

Guatemala Trip was Eye-Opening for B.B.A.

Thomas Shaw

So, as you heard just now, the B.B.A. didn’t fully understand those moving parts in the travel industry. If you recall, they had agitated to close off the border to these buses through an S.I. and then about two weeks ago they asked for an amendment to allow the buses to come in for six months which will give the local operators the time to get themselves ready.  That change of heart, while not fully embraced by the entire membership of the B.B.A., was prompted by Tejada’s approach to Shaw.  He shared those concerns and it dawned on Shaw that there was no consultation on the Guatemalan buses.  So, while that amendment is yet to be in black and white, the Belize Hotel Association’s concerns pushed them to try and remedy the relationship with their counterparts in Guatemala.  So, last week, Shaw and the B.H.A. and eighteen of their members were in Guatemala where they dialogued about the border and bus issues. Here’s Shaw’s take on the situation.

 

Thomas Shaw, President, Belize Bus Association

“Our operators here in Belize had a different concept, we thought that you could just go to the border and pick up tourists. No, we met directly with the agents who were selling these tours and then subcontract it to the Guatemalans.   My trip to Guatemala City has been an eye opener for me, due to the fact that sitting back in Belize and not going out there, I had a different idea about the whole situation, even my operators. And when I eventually go back to them and give them this presentation, they are going to realize that we think we are ready but we have a lot of work to do. It is big – very huge. I must admit that when we met Mr. Tejada at first and he was telling us about the European travelers, I thought nah, he is bluffing. But when I went out and saw it, these people told us what they wanted. So, I let my operators know that at the end of the day, it is a decision I made as the president and it was the best one because at the end of the day some of my operators felt that we weren’t supposed to give it a grace period.”


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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