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Feb 2, 2023

Tour Operators Want Their Vans Allowed Across the Swing Bridge

It’s the high season for Belize’s tourism industry and tour operators are trying to make much of every job they can land in the Old Capital, but the eighteen who own vans and operate on the outside of the Fort Street Tourism Village have a gripe. They say they are ticketed when they take their tours across the Belize City Swing Bridge. And today, they called out News Five to lodge their discontent. Nikolai Alvarado, who is the President of the Belize Local Association of Stakeholders in Tourism, BLAST, told us that since he got ticketed for taking a tour over the bridge, he no longer includes that historical aspect of the city in his tour package, while another tour operator, Cynthia Quan has not yet given up on the Swing Bridge tour. She just wants there to be a level playing field for everyone, including the train tours that she says are allowed to cross the bridge.


Nickolai Alvarado

Nickolai Alvarado, Tour Operator, President, BLAST Association

“These guys who have fifteen-passenger vans, fifteen with the driver, right, well I had gotten two tickets already for the same thing with my van. That is why I don’t do that north – the southside tour anymore because the time – if I go all the way around, it would take about twenty-five minutes out of the time because you have to come back in front of Holy Redeemer (School) and in front of Holy Redeemer with the schools exiting and stuff, it kills a lot of the time. So now the concern is that these local operators have to make their money so the route that they use to go was over the bridge, yes the Swing Bridge. Now the rules are that the vehicles that they have are too heavy. That’s what they claim, the vehicles are too heavy.”


Cynthia Quan

Cynthia Quan, Tour Operator, Belize City

“The tourists come to Belize to see the Swing Bridge, and we can’t go over with our fifteen-seater van, right and the train go twelve times across the bridge.

And the train carries forty-two people, so how can that be lighter? It’s a four cylinder, so maybe that’s the difference, so make City Council come and say what is the difference here or get the vehicle weighed. We get ticket because of the bridge. We shall not go over, but then my concern is with the ticket, it’s not only me you should give the ticket to. I agree that you need a new bridge, right, I agree with that, but we can’t tell the tourist I can’t take you across the bridge.”


News Five reached out to the Belize City Council, which responded close to news time a few minutes ago. We quote the Council’s response “The weight capacity for the Belize City Swing Bridge is legislated by law. However, given the age of the bridge and its current condition, its carrying capacity may require review by the Council’s technical personnel. The safety of all pedestrians and drivers who traverse the Swing Bridge remains at the forefront for the Council. We remain mindful of its connection to the downtown area and how this impacts the approved routes for tours. As such, we will be hosting a meeting with the Belize Tourism Board and the tour operators in the coming week,”.

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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