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New Tour Guide Association seeks betterment for membership

The Belize City Tourism Zone Operator and Workers Association is a relatively new group. Vice President Jimmy Robinson says they have been functional for about a year now and represent tour operators, tour guides, vendors, and braiders. The Association held a meeting today in Belize City to listen to the concerns of its membership and to recruit new members. Robinson explained why it became necessary for the new group to be formed and how far they have come in the last months.

Jimmy Robinson – Vice President

“From approximately six to seven years now we’ve been experiences different changes at the Tourism Village especially non organization, loss of revenues especially with Norwegian moving from the Belize City area, moving down south and that definitely brought about as I mentioned earlier loss of revenue for us so in order to safe guard our self and safe guard piece of the pie; it is imperative that we take this stand at this point in time. We are working hand in hand with the Belize Tourism board in order to safe guard our interest giving them suggestion, receiving suggestions from them and presenting a very good package to the guest that arrive to our country.”

The membership expressed several concerns. Among the biggest is the difficulties operators face outside the gates of the Tourist Village. The regulations are in place by both the BTB and the City Council and according to them, this is compounded by warnings on cruise ships which make it difficult for tour operator to win over clients.  

Jimmy Robinson – Vice President

The amount of people that come out of the village would be approximately I would say about maybe 0, 02%. Those I mention the independent guest that walk of the ship and come out on the streets and then we will be able to market our product on the outside. Many years ago say approximately six years ago we got much more guests coming out that and it is today. Some of those factors is still being questioned hence the reason why we formed our organization to be able to come together and assist one another, get a greater portion of the pie so we can benefit from it.”

Some operators have been working independently for years. A few who have decided to join the association expressed continued disapproval of the constant challenges. Despite their personal sentiments, however, Robinson says as part of the Association members must follow regulations.

Jimmy Robinson – Vice President

“All in all it has to fall in line because we have a set of bi laws that governs the discipline of each member and anybody violating those regulations could be penalized to the point where we could make recommendation to the Belize Tourism board to have their license revoked so we are very serious about what we doing; we are not into no game as I mentioned early in the opening of the meeting the tourism industry is very sensitive it do bring in a lot of revenues into the country. We are recognized internationally and we want to maintain a high standard that at the end of the day we can have more people coming to Belize.”

Currently, the Association has approximately 150 members.