By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
The Federation of Cruise Tourism Association of Belize (FECTAB) at a press conference on Friday complained about new regulations being implemented by NICH, which they say are hurting their business.
The main concern expressed by many FECTAB members and tour operators is a regulation, which stipulates that no person under 48-inches in height can do the cave-tubing activity that so many tour guides have come to earn their living on.
According to Vitalino Reyes, tour operator of Cavetubing.bz, “They never communicated to us and said you know what, effective so and so we’ll be implementing this law or this regulation or this standard of forty-eight inches.”
Reyes said this is hurting his business because many families travel with their children and will not go cave tubing if their kids cannot go along with them. Reyes also said that they have taken children along regularly without any incident.
Yohnny Rosado, tour operator of Cavetubing.com said that on Thursday he lost a tour of 21 people because he could not have them take their children and they refused to go without them. Rosado said the tourists do not get mad at NICH or the government but instead they get mad at the tour operators they can physically see.
According to FECTAB, they were given a booklet with all the new regulations without ever being consulted. The new regulations are part of a European Union and government of Belize collaboration under NICH and the BTB called the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Site program.
FECTAB also claimed that Dark Night, a new foreign tour operator is being given a sweetheart deal and is not required to follow the stringent regulations, which have been imposed on local tour operators.