Tickets Now Needed For Large Groups At Nohoch Che'en or Altun Ha
For anyone traveling in large groups to Nohoch Che'en or Altun Ha Archeological reserves next week - you will have to stop at a NICH office near you to buy your entrance ticket. It is a new ticketing policy that NICH believes should bring some ease to the visitor experience. Now again we stress, there is not increase in the entrance fee - the only change is the location where you buy your ticket. NICH Communication Officer, Neil Hall discussed this new ticketing system and the overall idea and goal behind it.
Neil Hall, Communication Officer, NICH
"So all it is the Institute of Archelogy under the guidance of NICH is starting to take away certain things from the actual sites to help people that are going there to be much more free and just to be able to travel through easily. What we are doing is that we have established that groups of 8 at locations like Nohoch Cheen, it is a bit more cumbersome for them to be at the gate paying their fees than if they were done pre-arrival. The same for Altun Ha where it is for groups of more than 15, they would be asked to pay their fares before actually arriving, it is more of a convenience measure to ensure that people have aâ€¦we have a steadier flow through to the actual archeological site."
"It really doesn't affect the normal everyday families or groups, it more is really for the larger tourism players where it is something to make it easier for them to one stop purchase all your tickets here and from there you just go and you enjoy. It is not a series where you then have 45 people lining up and then it is an individual process at the site which normally doesn't have the conveniences that you would have in the locations that we have them set aside for in the city, or in Belmopan or in San Ignacio."
"It is not change, it is progress and we do realize people will be instantly against it without even understanding where it is coming from or what it is heading to, but we would like to ask the public and the tourism industry and anyone who is a stakeholder in either archelogy or tourism or just the history of Belize just to allow us to make these tiny little tweaks and you will be able to see and experience the benefit that is coming in the long run."
This new policy will take effect August 28th. So again, tour groups of 8 persons and more visiting Nohoch Che'en and those consisting of 15 and more guests visiting Altun Ha will need to purchase their entrance tickets at a NICH office. In Belize City, you can stop by the NICH administrative building for your tickets or the Fort Street Tourism Village Ticket Office, you can by your tickets at the NICH administrative building in Belmopan as well and in San Ignacio you can purchase your tickets at the Cahal Pech Archeological site. We spoke to Tom Greenwood from the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB and he says this new ticketing system is a good move for security reasons - so as not have money at these sites, but his only concern is for those visitors from the Cayes having to go to these ticket stations.