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#330314 - 03/27/09 08:41 AM Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border
Marty Offline
Update on Bus Transportation Situation at Belize's Western Border with Guatemala

As a follow-up to its initial correspondence of March 25th, the Belize Tourism Board hereby advises that it continues to closely monitor the situation at the Western Border. The most recent update by our local authorities indicates that official talks between Belize and Guatemala continue with an effort to reach an amicable and reasonable solution to the bus transportation dispute by Monday, March 30th, 2009.

In the interim, the Ministry of Transportation has agreed to provide temporary one day permits for Guatemalan buses for entry into Belize to drop off their passengers at the Marine Water Taxi Terminal beginning today, March 26th through Sunday, March 29th. This will allow for passengers/visitors to continue their scheduled journey within Belize.

As a courtesy to our visitors, the Belize Tourism Board with the support of our tourism stakeholders in Cayo and the Border Management Agency will be having a physical presence on location at the Western Border beginning Friday, March 27th through Sunday, March 28th. Hospitality Officers will be on hand to provide any assistance required by our visitors as they make their way into Belize.

The Belize Tourism Board is hopeful that the ongoing talks between the governments of Belize and Guatemala will yield a mutually beneficial resolution.

We will continue to keep you informed as any new information is made available to us.

Should the need arise over the weekend, please feel free to contact:

Director of Tourism - Tracy Panton
via the BTB's emergency hotline 666-6006

#330488 - 03/28/09 04:19 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Marty]
Short Offline
March 27, 2009

Negotiations are expected to continue between the Belize and Guatemalan Governments following a development at the Western Border earlier this week. Following a meeting with transportation stakeholders on Tuesday, it was decided that busses like the Linea Dorada and San Juan, ADO will not be allowed to travel past the Benque/Melchor Border and the same would apply to busses from Belize. But an appeal from the Guatemalan officials was heard by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport and a decision was made. We spoke to Product development Manager at the Belize Tourism Board, Laura Esquivel about the situation.

Laura Esquivel; Development Manager, Belize Tourism Board
“As we speak we know that negotiations are sill going on. We know that the busses the Linia Dorada, San Quan and other Guatemalan buses are being allowed to pass our borders. They are getting one day passes to cross the borders and as far as we know our tour operators are also being allowed to make that cross. They hope to conclude all the negotiations and all the meetings over this weekend so that a finalized decision is made and that will go into effect on Monday. What they are looking for is some sort of reciprocation, for example whatever the rules are for Belizeans to enter into Guatemala would be the same for Guatemala transport to enter into Belize.”

While the decision that was made would also affect busses coming in from Mexico, Esquivel says that we haven’t had similar problems at the northern border.

Laura Esquivel; Development Manager, Belize Tourism Board
“I think the main issue is because of all the tours that we have that originate in Belize and are going to Tical for the day, for example. In the same light we have a lot of buses carrying mainly Europeans and other Central Americans that want to do the Guatemala Belize and Mexico route. They start in Guatemala and come over to Belize; they park in Belize, pick up customers and then take them on the Mexican border. The issue is mainly and issue between the Guatemalan and the Belizean side. We do no have the Mexican border.”

The transportation officials from Mexico and Guatemala are relying on the Mundo Maya agreement that was signed sometime in the past which basically allow for the free flow of passengers through Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Esquivel explains.

Laura Esquivel; Development Manager, Belize Tourism Board
“That is something that we are looking into. When we found that when it was originally signed the Ministry of Tourism and Culture was together, then there was a split in the ministry so we think that then the Mundo Maya Agreement and coordination went over to the Ministry of Culture. Since then, of course there have been many changes but that is what the Linia Dorada and the San Quan and those other buses companies are using. According to what we have heard that the information in there is that there should be free flow of traffic in between all countries in order to map out the Mayan route. This is so that tourists can go along the Mayan route without to much hindrance in travel.”

A release from the Belize Tourism Board today says that they in collaboration with other tourism stakeholders in Cayo and the Border Management Agency will be having a physical presence on location at the Western Border starting today through to Sunday as a courtesy to the visitors.

Live and let live

#330823 - 03/31/09 12:24 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Short]
Barbara K Offline
Anyone know what it currently happening with this situation?

#330888 - 03/31/09 05:24 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Barbara K]
Short Offline
Cabinet to discuss bus conflicts with Guatemala and Mexico tomorrow

The extension granted by the Government of Belize for foreign tourist buses from Mexico and Guatemala to enter Belize and pick up passengers using only a “letter of permission,” expires at 6:00 this evening, and the Government will have to decide what the next course of action will be.

According to the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Transport, Col. George Lovell, Belize is looking for reciprocity in the arrangements, meaning that whatever the Mexicans and Guatemalans allow Belize in their country, that is what Belize will allow them here.

Lovell told us that the issue is due to be discussed at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, and so the Government won’t know the final position until policymakers are able to sit down and discuss the issue tomorrow.

As to what happens between the time this evening’s deadline expires and a formal position is declared by the Government, Lovell indicated that the extension would continue in effect until then.

Last Wednesday the Department of Transport implemented a sudden blockade, barring the buses from crossing both northern and western borders to pick up tourists here in Belize. By evening the DOT had reversed the position, after protests from the foreign bus operators that they were given no notice before the blockade was put into effect.

Chief Transport Officer, Candelaria Saldivar, had told Amandala that Linea Dorado (which operates in Guatemala and Mexico), San Juan Express (a Guatemalan line) and ADO bus services (originating out of Mexico) had been picking up passengers in Belize at San Ignacio, Belize City (at the Belize Water Taxi Terminal), Orange Walk and Corozal, when only operators with permits issued by the department can legally do so.

The issue that the DOT is taking with the buses is that they have been picking up passengers in Belize even though they don’t have valid road service permits, and they have been doing so for several years, claiming that they don’t need a permit to come because of a Mundo Maya agreement.

Lovell told us today that he has seen a one-page article from the agreement, which he says is general and says nothing specific as to what is allowed where foreign tourist buses are concerned.

One complaint from the Belize side is that Belizean tour guides are not allowed to do tours in Guatemala. If a Belize bus operator is doing a Tikal tour, the operator has to use a Guatemalan tour guide, but when the Guatemalan buses come to Belize, they do not engage Belize tour guides, but bring European tour guides to do the job. Another is that Belizean bus operators don’t go further than Chetumal in Mexico.

The Transport Department says that a total of 7 to 8 buses come across the border with tourists daily.

Live and let live

#331519 - 04/05/09 04:39 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Short]
Short Offline
Cabinet decides to restrict foreign tourist buses from Mexico and Guatemala

Tourist buses originating from neighboring republics of Mexico and Guatemala have for several years had unbridled access to Belize and total freedom to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere they chose, even as Belizean drivers and tour guides are restricted in what they can do across the border. The Government of Belize says that all that will soon come to an end.

On Tuesday, March 31st, Cabinet made a firm decision that the relationships with our neighbors have to be reciprocal – meaning that whatever restrictions Guatemala and Mexico are imposing on Belize, have to be in turn imposed by Belize on their operators once they cross into our territory.

It’s a hard-line stance that is sure to create some hard feelings among the foreign bus operators, but as we go to press today the Government of Belize is in communication with their counterpart officials in Mexico and Guatemala to explain to them that Belizean bus operators are insisting on fair play.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Transport, Colonel George Lovell, told Amandala this morning that the new protocols will take effect on Monday, April 20. Lovell explained that there are three modes of operation, and the rules that apply to a bus will depend on which category it falls under.

Direct in-transit buses, which are destined to another Central American country but which pass through Belize, will have to carry a “manifest list,” which will be checked at both the northern and western border points to keep track of who comes in and who leaves with that bus. These buses should not drop off or pick up passengers anywhere in Belize. They will be forbidden from coming through Belize City, and have to use the Burrell Boom Road.

The second category is the charter/tour category buses – the majority of buses that transit through Belize. These include buses from El Salvador and Honduras, and they will be allowed to land passengers at the Water Taxi Terminal in Belize City, but required to use Belizean tour guides for tours in Belize.

The third category of buses, indirect in-transit buses, will be allowed only to drop off passengers at the water taxis but not to pick up new ones.

According to Lovell, since all buses will be required to have a “manifest list” of passengers, the Transport Department will be able to monitor whether the foreign operators are obeying the rules.

Those rules will be clearly mapped out by the Minister of Transport, Melvin Hulse, who Lovell told us will make new regulations, stipulating penalties for breaches.

The Transport Department will also be looking at what charges should be levied for the permits, which would be supplied to foreign operators (for a fee) certifying that they are allowed to pick up or drop off passengers in Belize. Until then, said Lovell, the status quo remains.

As we had reported last weekend, the Transport Department had invoked a sudden blockage on Wednesday, but lifted it hours later. It issued “letters of permission” giving neighboring countries until 6:00 p.m. Monday, March 29, to reach an agreement before implementing a blockage on foreign tourist buses.

Belize has evidently stepped back from that hard-line stance in that it is allowing foreign operators to continue business as usual for another three weeks, even though formal word has yet to come from officials in Guatemala and Mexico on whether they will accede to Cabinet’s new protocols.

Lovell says, however, that this extension will give Belize more time to put the new system in place and to be able to issue proper permits to foreign operators.

According to the CEO, there are very clear improvements with the new system: (1) local tour guides will now have to be used on the foreign buses and a minimum payment system will be put into effect to ensure local guides are not underpaid; (2) foreign buses will not be allowed to stop at any other point apart from the Water Taxi Terminal in Belize (whereas they have been stopping anywhere they wish to pick up and drop off tourists); and (3) permits will be issued to operators and the Transport Department will be vigilant in ensuring that foreign operators obey the new regulations.

Lovell said that he sent off a letter to counterparts abroad on Wednesday and they are now awaiting a response to see what their reaction to Cabinet’s new protocols will be.

Live and let live

#333749 - 04/18/09 10:11 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Short]
Short Offline
Just got this:
Originally Posted By: BTB
New Permit Requirements for Foreign Bus Companies and Tour Operators coming into Belize

Below please find information received via the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation & Culture in regard to new permit requirements for foreign bus companies and tour operators coming into Belize. The permits will be issued at Border points and will take effect on April 20th, 2009.

* For other forms of public transportation such as taxis, and buses which are transporting people though not as a part of a tour, normal Customs and Immigration clearance procedures will apply before being allowed past border entry points.
* Any vehicles originating from Belize (whether private or public) crossing over into a bordering country are subject to the regulations of the Transport Department in the respective country being visited (Mexico/Guatemala).
* Additionally, all public transportation operators must have a road service permit in order to operate within Belize.


The Ministry of Public Utilities, Transport, Communications and National Emergency Management hereby informs that the changes regarding the International Road Transportation services in Belize will be conducted as follows. The enforcement of these procedures will take effect on Monday 20th April, 2009.

Direct Intransit:

* A manifest of passengers will be needed at points of entry and departure.
* The Boom Road is to be used for all direct intransit trips.


* A manifest of passengers will be needed at point of entry and departure (Same In – Same Out).
* A Belize tour guide to be used on all tours.
* The cost of guide is to be paid by the tour.

Charter to Belize City Water Taxi:

* A manifest of passengers will be needed at entry and destination points.
* Drop off of passengers is only to be done at the Water Taxi Bus Stop on North Front Street in Belize City
* Charters will be allowed to return with passengers only from Water Taxi the same day.

Indirect Intransit:

* A manifest of passengers will be needed at the point of entry, Belize City Water Taxi and point of departure from Belize.
* Drop off of passengers will be allowed at the Water Taxi.
* This bus will be allowed to continue to Mexico/Guatemala with the remainder of the passengers only.
* These buses cannot pick up anyone at Water Taxi.
* These buses are required to pay for a guard or transport officer to the Belize City Water Taxi
* These buses cannot pick up anyone on way to Mexico/Guatemala.

General Regulation:

* No category of international transportation will be allowed to pick up any passengers in Belize – except Tours and Charters at Belize City Water Taxi.
* Permit will state after three (3) violations, they will be cancelled.
* Fines will be imposed on violations.
* Taxis will be allowed to bring in passengers but cannot return with different persons on return journey.
* Other forms of public transportation follow the normal immigration and customs procedures.
Anybody else notice I am just about the only one answering to this kind of subjects? Are we all foreigners on the board or are there still some Belizeans here? Just curious...
Live and let live

#333760 - 04/18/09 11:30 PM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Short]
MisterB266 Offline
I'm on top of it, Short!

Information from the agent in Belize City is that the schedules for the Linea Dorada, San Juan and other international buses will not change.


This is just a tightening of the rules that have always been in effect, but become lax over the years.

#333780 - 04/19/09 10:18 AM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: MisterB266]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
As I read the bulleted list, Linea Dorada would not be able to pick up passengers at the Marine Terminal. They could drop off passengers from, say, Chetumal, but not pick anybody up. So tourists in Belize would no longer be able to take Linea Dorada to Flores, for example.

Is this the case, or am I reading it wrong?

--Lan Sluder

#333846 - 04/20/09 02:25 AM Re: Bus Transportation Situation on Guatemalan border [Re: Short]
Peter Jones Offline
Originally Posted By: Short
Are we all foreigners on the board or are there still some Belizeans here?

A very good question that I've often wondered about, because the numerous Belizeans I work with have never even heard of this board and regard it as a foreigner/ex-pat thing. Marty?


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