October 03, 2008

The Ministry of Tourism, BTB, and NICH have enforced safety regulations for Cave Tubing Tours. At a meeting in early September certain measures were agreed upon to govern the safety practices of tour guides and tour operators. This included a clear outline of who is responsible for making sure policies for use of caves are adhered to. Kenneth Williams is the Product Development Officer at the Belize Tourism Board.
Kenneth Williams, Product Development Officer

“The law is being enforced for safety of the guests, but it is not only for cave tubing it is for all high risk and water based activity. If they are in a national park that is governed by NICH then institute of Archaeology has that jurisdiction. If they are on in open river then it is at their own risk because no one has real jurisdiction over that. If they are at a national park NICH/Institute of Archaeology has the last say as to whether or not anyone can conduct any tours at that park. Mostly it is for safety that is number one.”

This meeting was followed by another meeting on Wednesday and the regulations were enforced yesterday. In addition to the measures, the Institute of Archaeology and the Belize Tourism Board will be providing all tour guides mandatory training before taking tours in the cave system. This includes a 2 to 3 day course on Caves and the ancients Maya, Cave Safety, Cave Ethics, Cave Geography and Regulations for operating in caves and a 5 day course on Swift Water Rescue, Advanced First Aid and Cave Rescue. The training will include penalties for not adhering to the newly enforced policies.