Interesting, the BTB had recently (9/25) issued a statement about enforcing the safety regulations for cave tubing. When did this tragic incident happen?
BTB & NICH Enforces Safety Regulations for Cave Tubing Tours
--Belize City, Thursday, September 25th, 2008 – Members of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and NICH have met to discuss ways in which they would be better able to equip tour guides and tour operators to exercise improved safety precautions when dealing with visitors who sign up for cave tubing adventures.
Recommendations agreed upon include:
1. Installation of signs regarding policies that must be adhered to when using the cave system for tours. This will not only advise the guides, but will also make tourists aware of the rules that must be followed whenever they are using the cave system.
2. Additional Tourism Police Presence in the area.
3. Periodical entrance to the caves will be implemented by the Institute of Archaeology.
4. Enforcement of approved Tour Guide Visitor Ratio
5. A Legislative review of existing Tour Guide and Tour Operator legislation to institute appropriate fines that will be levied on those who do not adhere to the regulations.
The BTB will also work with the Institute of Archaeology Department to begin training programs. All tour guides wishing to take tours in the cave system will have to complete a mandatory training course before November 2009. These include a 2-3 day theory course which will cover Caves and the Ancient Maya, Cave Safety, Cave Ethics, Cave Geology and Regulations for operating in caves and the penalties that will be levied if policies are not adhered to. A five day course will also be held to cover Swift Water Rescue, Advanced First Aid and Cave Rescue. This course consist of 14-16 hours daily field work and at the end of this training period, the Institute of Archaeology will police the tour guides as they do at the ATM Caves.
The Belize Tourism Board and NICH will hold a stakeholders meeting to inform tour operators about these new policies and to finalize appropriate implementation
For more information on the developments and events in Belize’s Tourism Industry, please contact the Marketing Department at the Belize Tourism Board at (501)-227-2420, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.belizetourism.org.