BTB Responds to Tour Operators: The system is fine; the conduct isn’t

Belize Tourism Board (BTB)

Belize Tourism Board

Thursday, June 18th 2015. BMG: Over the past weeks, the President of the Fort George Tourism Zone Tour operators and Taxi Union, Arton Bowen, has continuously expressed concern on the delegation of tours and distribution of tourists at Belize Tourist Village. According to Bowen, only pre-booked tour operators are benefitting from the process, while independent and freelance tour operators have been trying to negotiate a change in the system.
In response to dissatisfied independent tour operators, the director of Destination Planning and Cruise, Valdemar Andrade explained that the two groups of tour operators have been assigned specific gates on site.  Pre-booked tour operators operate at gate one, where tourists who have booked online meet their operators.  Freelance operators operate at gate two, where tourists who have not made appointments are rerouted, so that they can acquire an independent tour operator.  Sometimes, walk-in tourists, or tourists without a booking, may exit through gate 1 because they are not aware that they should reroute to gate 2.

The real issue, Andrade believes, is that tourists who book with tour operators beforehand give operators higher ratings than the walk-ins who tour with independent operators.  According to Andrade, the rate at which independent operators get work depends on their individual behavior and how well they manage standard operating procedures; in his opinion, it is not the system that is flawed, but rather the behavior and conduct of the independent operators.

He claims that both the pre-booked tour operators and the independent delegation agreed to the system currently in place.  To facilitate better tour practices, training sessions designed to improve business have been set up for tour operators.

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