A taxi driver giving tours – this was the topic of debate on one of Reef Radio’s Morning Show broadcast last week. It was an interesting topic that we got to do a bit more investigation of out own and find out more on this issue.
The Director of Quality Assurance at the Belize Tourism Board, Mrs. Laura Esquivel Frampton, stated that in order for a taxi driver to give proper tours of the island he must have a tour guide license. “If a taxi is transporting someone from point A to point B, that is referred to as a taxi transfer and does not require a tour guide license,” stated Mrs. Amy Leiva of the BTB Office in San Pedro. “If the taxi is offering tours of San Pedro, they fall into that category of tour guide. Taxi operators generally fall into a very grey area between taxi and tour guide.”
Taxi drivers are at the forefront of the tourism industry and with this in mind the BTIA and BTB held a three day training course in October of 2008. Over 85 taxi drivers attended and were taught about public relations, responsibilities with the company employers, dealing with irate customers among others that fell under the tourism training. At the end of the course participants were given certificates of completion of the course. These certificates however do not certify them as tour guides.
However, any Belizean can become a tour guide. There are certain things that need to be done to obtain a tour guide license. Which include, filling out application forms, providing medical certificates, police record, proof of Belizean Citizenship among others. Taking the tour guide classes is a must and is offered by the Belize Tourism Board and by the San Pedro Tour Guide Association.