Sunday, April 14, 2024

First Tour Guide graduation ceremony held for 2024

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A group of 36 residents from San Pedro have received their certification from the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) after completing a four-month-long national tour guide training. A brief ceremony to commemorate the accomplishment was held on Friday, March 1st, at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium, with the presence of their family and friends.
The ceremony began at 7 PM with an invocation delivered by Pastor Clive Welsh. Following this, the course instructor and President of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Philip ‘Billy’ Leslie, welcomed everyone to the event, shared some words of encouragement and congratulations to the graduates, and acknowledged the contribution of the San Pedro Junior College for their partnership in teaching the tour guide course on their campus.
Leslie invited SPJC Dean Paul Kelly to address the graduates in recognition of their partnership. Kelly emphasized the role of tour guides as ambassadors of Belize’s natural beauty and urged them to be proud and responsible while showcasing the country’s unique natural resources to foreign visitors. “As tour guides, you can tell foreign visitors about our amazing natural resources. Be very proud and, at the same time, responsible. Let’s take care of our environment,” said Kelly. He also expressed his support for the program and hoped it would expand to include teaching other languages. Kelly suggested that having tour guides who could speak different languages like Italian and French would make the program even more attractive to visitors.
During the graduation ceremony, Veronica Humes, a BTB representative, stressed the importance of professionalism and conservation advocacy to the graduates. She encouraged them to share the beauty of Belize with both local and foreign visitors, particularly the marine wonders surrounding San Pedro and Ambergris Caye. Humes urged the graduates to take advantage of the opportunities and continue promoting their country. She also expressed her gratitude to the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Honourable Anthony Mahler, for his contribution of $1,000 towards the course cost for each participant.
Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez also spoke to the graduates and encouraged them to pursue a successful career in this exciting profession. Use this achievement to better your lives and, as everyone has said, be educators and advocates for conserving our natural marine resources,” said Mayor Nuñez. Mayor Nuñez emphasized that they now have the power to impact the industry positively. The ceremony also included a motivational speech from Vicky Coc, who represented Hol Chan Marine Reserve. She expressed her team’s commitment to continue working with the tour guides and encouraged them to stay updated on the training opportunities that Hol Chan has planned to offer.
The ceremony ended with the San Pedro Tour Operators Association President, Roberto Canul, congratulating the new certified tour guides. He acknowledged that there are no tour guides without tour operators and vice versa and opened his doors to the latest tour guides. Roberto Bradley from the Ambergris Caye Fishing Guide is also committed to supporting the new graduates in their plans to become tour guides.

Successful participants received certificates, and their next step is to apply for a tour guide license with the BTB.

Leslie, who shared a few words at the end of the ceremony, commended the new 36 certified tour guides and encouraged them to remember that no job is too demanding and no weather is too rough. Afterward, everyone enjoyed snacks and refreshments.

The newly certified tour guides present at the ceremony included:
Ajoni Tillett, Andre Cadle, Benjamin Reyes, Bendel Oxley, Bryan Lara, Bryan Pacheco, Carl Paz, Carlywn Gillett, Christian Orellana, Christopher Martinez, Darwin Triminius, Dennis Sabido, Denzel Hyde, Dylan Henkis, Eaveral Bodden, Elim Soliz, Emerson Marin, Everildo Reyes, Ghian Williams, Jairo Portillo, Jaly Vasquez, Jose Chimal, Juan Carlos Velasquez, Marcos Cab, Mario Chimal, NRamirez,owe, Pablo Barboza, Rafael Roches, Roman Palma, Shadir Paz, Shamar Foster, Tahj Warrior, Shevon Ramirez and Gilberto Lara.

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