• Charles Leslie Jr.

15 Things Tours Operators In Belize Should Consider Post-Coronavirus Crisis

| Contributed by: Kenrick Theus


1. Organize as a union


Unity Will Be Critical For Recovery

  • Autonomous of BTB

  • Create own governing principles and enforceable by the union upon members

  • Recommendation needed from union to get operators permit after first year

  • Demand/ask for seat on BTB, BHA, BTIA

  • Get BTB and ministry buy in


2. Take training more seriously


Training Keeps Every Sharp

  • Certification by areas of expertise

  • Enforceable mandates over guides who stray from the normal

  • Retraining online every six months or just beginning of the season and end of season

  • Quality control with seasoned guides rating tours every six months


3. Extricate those that are a burden due to lack of professionalism


Be Stringent About Professionalism
  • Monitoring and evaluation

  • Grievance procedure to disqualify unsuitable guides for a period or life

  • Monitoring and evaluation by appointed union team


4. Set higher standards


Reach For The Stars
  • See what places like Costa Rica is doing

  • Follow example from those countries

  • No need to reinvent the wheel, the information is already there

  • Guides offered some insurance via association/union

  • Association gets an idea of the quantity of vehicles owned by members and then bargain preferential rates to have all equipment insured via chosen company...lowers cost, gives saving to members


5. Start a one year foreign language training for guides - Italian, French, Spanish


We Need To Expand Our Market Reach

  • Set up training in low season on weekends, some online, us of an app

  • Test after lessons over

  • Have them do field work in the language and evaluated by original speakers

  • Have pamphlets translated into said languages


6. Develop a monitoring and reporting system for quality control


Monitor. Measure. Evaluate. Improve.

  • Establish standards

  • Team on-hand charted with follow-ups, reprimand, removal of licence


7. Attend trade shows as your own entity, don’t depend solely on third-party entities such as BTB


Travel Is Emotional. Be There In Person.

  • Focus from BTB, at these shows, are mainly on hotels

  • Tag along but specialize in showing what tour operators do

  • Have press kits on flash drives at-ready to issue

  • Have centralized officer in union dealing with marketing solely


8. Get all your guides in uniform


Uniformity Portrays A Sense Of Professionalism

  • Unkempt and rag tag is just not cutting it


9. Increase marketing targeting to Central America and South America


There Are Millions In Untapped Markets

  • They are closer and have loads of wealthy people too

  • Millions and millions next door but little done there to market our wonders

  • Push to have information at all their tourist boards and like-minded organizations

  • Use YouTube marketing directed at their market to push our ads

  • Use FB direct marketing, country by country to, again, push Belize


10. Block tour companies from bringing own buses to country


There Should Be No Excuses With Quality

  • Upgrade mini-bus systems here with higher, newer vans

  • Drop at border a transfer to Belizean company

  • No chicken bus experience for this, nice buses, please


11. Institute guide certification in birding, marine, natural history, archaeology, culture, botany, environmental issues


Specialization Will Improve Quality

  • Self explanatory


12. Re-brand as a group


Belize Really Needs A Unified Brand

  • Set standards

  • Implement and train ALL

  • Monitor

  • Heavy on social media

  • Seek international linkages, certification, training


13. Collect membership fees and have a manned officer for your guides and tour operator per North, Central, Southern Belize


Tour Operators Need A Unified Presence

  • Money needed to run the organization

  • See what roles can be usurped from BTB, that they do, but union can do better and collect on this $$ for union/organization….enforcement, monitoring, evaluation, training, etc...all money makers


14. Retrain all current tour guide


Guides Need To Be On Top Of Their Game

  • I would want to say this is needed immediately

  • Look at current training manual for adjustments and expansions on information

  • Survey guides and operators on a way forward

  • Add sustainability and greening in the syllabus, please


15. Work out a proper tour with decent information for each site so guides can be better informed, form local companies that have assets to borrow and block out companies like Chukka and foreign stakeholders


Too Much Conflicting Information Floating Around


  • Site by site, pertinent information on each gathered on all

  • Work with NICH, Archaeology and historians to get info on areas of interest, set out chronologically, offer specialized training in the area

  • Guides work on being proficient on each property, area, site…..in the city for example, (training on museums where we have about four here), (ancient cemeteries where we have two), (historical buildings, statues and monuments in downtown city area) (history of different areas of the city)

  • A guide needs to be trained and retrained every six months in these things

  • Guides not allowed to tour areas in which he is not qualified



We would like to thank Mr. Kenrick Theus for his contribution.
Mr. Theus is the Managing Director of ABC Solutions and was a part-time lecturer at the University Of Belize.

NOTICE:

Tomorrow, Charles Leslie Jr., owner of Leslie Tech Digital, will releasing a free marketing document for tour operators in Belize, called "Marketing Through The Covid-19 Crisis

A Coronavirus Battle Plan For Tour & Activities Operators In Belize | ASSESS. ADAPT. SURVIVE."


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