It’s a little bit of unfortunate news, but definitely good to see that our natural resources and tourist attractions are being taken care of. According to the Cayo Tour Guide Association, cameras are being banned at the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave as of Friday, May 4, 2012.
How this decision will affect the cave and tours being sold one of Belize’s most impressive cave system is yet to be seen. Picture taking and sharing of the ATM cave and other tourist attractions in Belize is such an integral part of helping marketing tourism around the world that it is our hope that this decision does not create a negative impact on tours to ATM.
According to a post on the Cayo Tour Guide Association’s website, tours at ATM were stopped a few weeks back because someone had knocked out a tooth from the skull of the famous skeletal remains of a female Maya.
This is believed to have been a direct cause of tour guides hurrying and flooding the cave with many tourists. The ATM cave was closed for one day and after a briefing with tour guides the tours resumed. But yet in another case, a tourist dropped his camera onto the skull itself and shattered the back of it.
After an unofficial meeting, tour guides of the C.T.G.A. suggested that cameras should not be allowed in to the cave; letters of notification have been sent out. Unfortunately cameras are now being banned from the ATM Cave tours unless they have permission by N.I.C.H. and ultimately permission from Dr. Jamie Awe.
Hopefully the decision to allow cameras back in the cave will be made and better solutions are put into practice like restricting the number of tours to the cave and allocating barrier so that tourists don’t get too close to the artifacts, skeletal remains and natural formations.