By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR), and the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to improve the tourism enforcement activities taking place at the Reserve,” said the Belize Tourism Board on Wednesday.
The MOU, which seeks to strengthen enforcement of tourism operations within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, “formalizes an already effective working relationship, between the three agencies, that has seen the execution of numerous enforcement and monitoring visits by the Belize Tourism Board and Tourism Police Unit within the HCMR and surrounding areas.”
BTB’s Director of Tourism Evan Tillett said the MOU is an agreement of strategic importance.
“Enforcement is a critical component of being able to provide a world-class product and quality experience to our guests,” said Director Tillett.
“While the focus is not solely to regulate, but instead to support a process of continual improvement, partnerships such as these are paramount in our ability to provide a responsive and accountable enforcement system.”
Tillett said BTB expects to continue building its partnership with Hol Chan and the TPU to achieve the MOU’s objective.
Tillett signed the MOU along with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s Executive Chairman Ian Pou and TPU’s Assistant Superintendent Aliyson McLaughlin.
“The Tourism Police Unit and the Belize Police Department continue to lend support to all stakeholders in an effort to promote, rebuild and preserve the tourism industry. We thank the BTB and Hol Chan Marine Reserve for engaging in this important initiative,” said Assistant Superintendent McLaughlin, who is the Officer-In-Charge of the TPU.
“Hol Chan Marine Reserve remains committed to working hand in hand with stakeholders in the best interest of conservation and the tourism industry,” said the Hol Chan Reserve Chairman Pou.
BTB said the MOU featured a mechanism for technical, knowledge, and information exchange, intelligence meetings, strategic operations, and capacity development.