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Belize Tourism Board issues updated regulations for tour guides taking groups to archaeological sites

Posted: Friday, April 2, 2021. 4:33 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The four-day Easter weekend is upon us and despite COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, families can still engage in recreational travel, provided they follow the established guidelines. On Thursday, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) issued updated regulations for tour guides to manage visitation at archeological sites to keep visitors and site staff safe during this Easter season.

The updated regulations includes a list of general guidelines along with specific guidelines dedicated to certain archaeological sites. The general guidelines state that: upon arrival at the archaeological reserve, tour groups will be subjected to the instructions of the tour guide with guidance provided by the archaeological reserve’s staff; where possible, it is recommended that tour guides and tour operators conduct all financial transaction for ticketing at an approved NICH ticketing location prior to arrival on-site; and that all ticketing transactions at the reserve shall be handled only by the tour guide. Tour guides and guests are required to have minimal interaction with park rangers.

“In an effort to prevent congregation of visitors in restricted spaces, visitors’ centers will remain closed and climbing will be monitored on certain temples; no tour guides are allowed to loiter within the archaeological reserves with the exception of the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve. In the case of Nohoch Che’en a maximum of ten freelance tour guides will be allowed at any given time,” the BTB said.

At the Actun Tunichil Muknal site, the new ratio of guest to guide shall now be 6:1. The BTB noted that there needs to be a five-minute interval between groups of guests who are on the trails or in the cave. At the Nohoch Che’en site, the guide to guest ratio remains at 8:1. At Barton Creek, there shall be a five-minute interval between the canoes entering the cave. Each canoe shall maintain a distance of six feet from each other. All other Terrestrial Sites, the guest to guide ratio shall now be 10:1

Those needing more information are urged to contact the Institute of Archaeology at [email protected].

 

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