REPORT #467 March 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Echoes of pain in the night from the small native tourist businesses, effected by probable bankruptcy of Belize, because of the Peoples United Party poor fiscal practices! " Say it aint so, daddy?"

Question: From abroad in the international arena. I do not know how this all works, but isn't the Tourist Board supposed to represent you all? Is there not an organization MADE UP OF BUSINESS OWNERS that can properly check and balance the BTB?

Answer: ( No! They are political appointees, or politically connected, intended to milk the small tourist operators dry at the maximum sustainable level ), to force consolidation and monopolization in fewer hands.

BTB Gouging Tourist Industry. To add to the burgeoning woes caused by the now critical US dollar shortage in Belize, the BTB, as the body organized to lead the tourism industry, is gouging the industry of its life-blood. A tour operator (mom and pop snorkel shop) in Caye Caulker now has to pay the following fees in order to be able to operate: License boat (Port Authority) - $75 License Captain (Port Authority) - $25 License Tour Boat (BTB) - $75 License Tour Guide (BTB) - $125 License Tour Operator (your streetside office) - BTB - $250 Business Tax (Income Tax) 6% of gross sales Add to that the following: 5% charge on credit card charges (Your bank) Increased entrance fees to Shark/Ray and Hol Chan Park effective end Dec 2001. And you can see that what is left for the local operator is closer to $0.

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