Members of the bz-culture list have been alerted to a possible attempt by the BTB to shut down hostels and other budget-type accommodations in Belize. It's my understanding that the first "target" of this misguided effort is Tina's BakPak Hostel on Caye Caulker. If the info posted is correct, she was visited by a BTB representative and told that she will be barred from continuing to operate unless she remodels the place completely to put bathrooms in each "room..." As I understand it, any accommodations offering shared baths are to be shut down. Not sure how this would be applied to campgrounds, but I guess they will have to go too!
If true, this is outrageous! Apparently, the powers-that-be have decided that only the well-heeled need come to Belize. Back-packing ecotourists, college students, senior-hostelers, La Ruta Maya travelers and other budget travelers looking for European-style shared accommodations are not wanted. Church groups taking time out from volunteer work to trek for a few days on a low budget? Go somewhere else!
How shortsighted and silly. Budget travelers are usually the most conscious of not spreading trash around (unlike the cruise-ship crowd) and they spend their money in the community where its needed the most.
Furthermore, such a misguided policy discourages budding tourism entrepreneurs, encourages borrowing and contributes to what most of us DON'T want: the Cancun-ization of Belize.
I sure hope the BTB re-thinks this one long and hard. Perhaps hearing from us will make a difference.
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org