[Linked Image]

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in collaboration with the Port Authority, Sea 2 Shore Alliance and the Belize Manatee Conservation Project, has installed a sign on the estuary of the Belize River with the aim to remind tour guides of their responsibility to protect Belize’s natural resources.

The installation of the sign was deemed necessary due to increasing public concerns regarding some tour guides touching and feeding manatees as part of their tours.

Manatees are a vital resource of our national tourism product. As the leading statutory body charged with promoting and marketing Belize as a leading tourism destination, the BTB is also mandated to actively promote the protection of our natural, cultural, ecological and environmental resources and attractions as stipulated by law to ensure the sustainability and viability of our dynamic tourism industry.

The BTB takes the opportunity to remind all those that traverse our waterways, including tour operators and tour guides, that in the execution of their duties they are bound by law to protect all of Belize’s natural resources and attractions. In doing so, the BTB urges them to discourage tourists and the general public from getting too close, touching or feeding wildlife such as Manatees and other species, which are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act and the Endangered Species and Conservation Act of Belize.

Manatees, in particular, are sensitive animals; they form an integral part of Belize’s tourism attractions and eco-systems and their habitat should NOT be disturbed or damaged under any circumstance.

The protection of our wildlife and environment is essential to the sustainability and viability of our tourism assets and industry.

The BTB reiterates its commitment to work closely with industry stakeholders to protect Belize’s natural resources and attractions and to ensure the sustainability of our national tourism product.