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Feb 24, 2023

Gales Point Has Twenty-nine New Tour Guides

Twenty-nine residents of Gales Point Village are now tour guides after they have successfully completed a three-month course provided by the Belize Tourism Board. It was a rigorous course, according to Gales Point Chairman, Jason Altschaft, but the majority of those who enrolled in the program finished it. And even before the new tour guides completed the training, there has been interest by a couple educational institutions to promote the uniqueness of Gales Point in the programs they offer. As you’ll remember, Gales Point was embroiled in conflict with Vulcan Materials Company less than a year ago.  The company was interested in conducting mining activities on the outskirts of the village and many residents felt that it could have created irreversible damage to their environment. Chairman Altschaft shared with News Five today what the training does for Gales Point.


Jason Altschaft

Jason Altschaft, Chairman, Gales Point Village

“We had three months of going to school from four o’clock in the afternoon to seven o’clock in the evening, and it was very challenging because you had to change your life. Some people have fishing that they do in the evening, but we did it after three months of hard work, everybody encouraged everybody to keep on doing it and helped cover people when we couldn’t get there for the homework and things like that. But it was three very hard months of fantastic training by the B.T.B. This is this council’s dream. We really want to not take anything from this village, but only give back, and basically through tourism, we can show somebody the manatees, the fish, we can show them that over and over and over again and make money on that. If we destroy that by some other line of making money – mining or something like that – it could cause a ripple effect through the whole community and we would lose that huge part of tourism. But as it stands, Gales Point is completely pristine. When we study the fish, they haven’t been disturbed here yet. We don’t have any industry yet. So it’ll be fantastic to start getting some of these schools and these students coming here and teaching us about our own environment and we will be able to work hand in hand with that, with the tourism so that we, our knowledge will increase and we’ll be able to give travelers a better feel for Belize as a whole. Galen University was the first one to contact me. We have St. John’s College coming to do a beans and rice cooking tour. The Galen also works with Belize University. Some of their senior students, they wanna develop a program where they could come here and get hands-on training, not just school training. So, and again, our tour guides will be the ones that take them out. And then we also had a sponsor from one of the investors in the area called Matt Haskell. He’s building Loggerhead Shores and that’s gonna be the first major resort in the area to encourage all this tourism give back to the village in people cleaning rooms, people doing tours, people cooking food. All these things will start to build now and we’re awfully excited about these opportunities that just seem to be coming in at the exact right time.”

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