Here's a copy of an e-mail and fax I sent to the PR department of BTL, with a cc to the BTB. I think it is truly incredible, though not surprising, that BTL and the Belize government, are set to change every phone in Belize on May 1, about two months from now, yet they have not made complete information available to the public or to people whose business involves getting the right telephone numbers.

To: Public Relations Department, Belize Telecommunications Ltd.

About a week ago, I e-mailed you about the upcoming changes in Belize's telephone dialing system but have not heard back from you. (I am a travel writer and the author or co-author of six travel-related books on Belize.) I have read the limited press reports about the 7-digit dialing and the new telephone numbers set to be introduced in May 2002. Also, I have heard from individual business owners in Belize who have received letters about the new telephone numbers. Many business owners appear to be somewhat confused, as I am.

I see BTL representatives being quoted in the Belize media, such as the San Pedro Sun, as saying they can provide little information at this time, until educational materials can be produced, although some meetings with business customers have been held.

Unfortunately, my publishers in New York, Random House, do have publishing deadlines. We are in the last stages of preparing a new 2002 edition of Fodor's Guide to Belize and Guatemala (which Time Magazine called "the King of Guidebooks") and need to include the correct telephone numbers and dialing information for readers around the world who are planning trips to Belize. I am also in the very final stages of producing a new guide to Ambergris Caye. Fodor's and other guidebooks of course play a considerable role in bringing tourists to Belize with their hard currency.

I would hate to think that readers of this or other guidebooks would find it difficult to contact Belize hotels, tour operators and other tourism interests in Belize due to telephone information not being up to date. Given the difficult situation faced by tourism interests in Belize today, that is the last thing Belize needs.

Can you please let me know when the information about the new telephone dialing system will be made available to travel media and others in the media with a need to provide accurate information for their readers?

Thank you.

--Lan Sluder

Belize books and publications by Lan Sluder:
Belize First Magazine (
Fodor's Belize & Guatemala Guide
Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize
Adapter Kit: Belize (the first and only comprehensive guide to living, retiring, working and investing in Belize -- a best-seller on
UpClose Central America
San Pedro Cool (coming soon)

cc: Belize Tourist Board

Lan Sluder/Belize First