The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has implemented a number of strategies and policies to ensure the sustainability of tourism in Belize City. These steps are the first, with more strategies to follow, that will improve the quality of services and tourist experiences for visitors.
According to Destination Planning and Cruise Director Valdemar Andrade, the steps have come as a result of consultations with cruise partners who have expressed the concerns of many of their cruise guests.
Andrade said the BTB in partnership with the Small Business Development Center has delivered business development training for all the groups of stakeholders in the Fort George Tourism Zone. The participants in this are hair braiders, tour guides, tour operators, food vendors and craft vendors. The training covers topics such as entrepreneurship, marketing products, customer service, understanding the customer, and sales techniques.
The BTB will partner with Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence to train tour guides that participate in the Cruise sector for the Belize City Port, Andrade explained. Aquila is the exclusive training partner of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association. The guides will be trained to Aquila Tour Guide Excellence certification standards as a specialized training for Cruise Guides.
The BTB and the Belize City Council have also established a formalized management committee and have been meeting for the past few months to ensure the proper management of the Fort George Tourism Zone. Many of the concerns raised by Carnival and other cruise lines have been tabled to this committee for action. Projects being currently under revision include, remodeling the vendor area on North Park Street, reorganizing pedestrian and traffic flow in the area, instituting and enforcing parking zones and no loitering areas and enforcement of trade licenses for all businesses.