Belize Hoteliers Describe Proposed Standard Changes As “Insane”

Open Jaw

Mariposa Jungle Lodge

It looks like a case of bureaucrats running amok.

As Brian Major reports in TravelPulse, proposed changes to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB)’s hotel classification system are being described by hoteliers as way over the top.

The BTB’s proposed changes ostensibly seek to “improve minimum standards for hotels and tourist accommodations in Belize,” but amendments include language that one hotelier describes as “just insane.”

Some of the proposals extend far beyond the typical areas of safety, security, health and operational competency, says Sharyn Brinker, owner of the Mariposa Jungle Lodge. “We have no quarrel with safety and health, or customary standards like the posting of rates,” she said in an interview with TravelPulse. “But some of the measures are just insane. The result is regulation that’s arbitrary and inconsistent.”

In a letter to the San Pedro Sun, Brinker observed that “BTB proposes to regulate the furnishings and decorations in hotel rooms, the role of personnel, the colour of linens, and literally hundreds of items that are beyond the purview of reasonable or typical regulation.”

For example, the proposed changes stipulate that “if a facility has a bar, bakery or pastry products must be provided” and “anyone that serves meals must offer a daily menu with at least 2 choices per course,” Brinker said.

And in a destination that features numerous jungle lodges offering secluded experiences in natural environments, the proposed changes stipulate that to “qualify as a licensed resort, a facility must offer colour TV with remote control and cable or satellite service.”

Brinker said another proposal would require all nature hikes to be conducted on flat ground. Huh?

“The regulation of tourism facilities should be limited to health, safety and emergency issues, all with due regard to the realities of the marketplace and the current Belize infrastructure,” said Brinker, who estimated 98% of BTIA’s membership is opposed to proposed changes that do not address health, safety and security issues.

A BTB official quoted in the San Pedro Sun report confirmed a final decision has not yet been made on the proposed changes. “The purpose of us having these consultations is to obtain feedback from all vectors to enhance, as well as upgrade the services and quality of the standards,” he said.

Did he say ‘vectors?’ Yes, the bureaucrats have run amok.


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