The commanders of Hondurasâ€™ special tourist police squad
- known by the name Balam - recently traveled to
Mexico to train with that countryâ€™s special tourist police
forces. The trip was designed to provide the Honduran officers
with greater experience in the kind of operations that emphasize
special tourist needs.
Participating in the program were Sub Commissioner Ramon Hernandez
Martinez and the Balam Chief Operations Officer for Tela, Jose
Jair Meza. They met with several officials from Mexicoâ€™s
Ministry of Protection, as well as Acapulcoâ€™s Municipal
Tourism Director, Roger Bergeret, and Acapulco Mayor Alberto
Lopez Rosas. The primary focus of the meetings was to explore
and observe measures taken to protect and serve tourists in
Acapulco, one of Mexicoâ€™s most important tourist destinations.
Chief Jair said an important difference between Mexico and
Honduras in their approach to tourist police is that, unlike
Honduras whose tourist police squad is a branch of the central
governmentâ€™s Ministry of Security, Mexicoâ€™s tourist
police forces are run on a municipal basis with separate management.
This and other strategies that are in place in Mexico may
work equally well in Honduras, he said, pointing out that
by providing tourists with excellent service and safety in
hotels, on the street and at tourist destinations is good
for both tourists and the tourism industry.
The idea, he said, is to use Acapulcoâ€™s “Tourist
Angels” police force as a model for a similar squad
in the Bay Islands. This will entail additional exchanges
with tourist police officers and a series of training sessions
on developing and implementing strategies aimed specifically
at protecting and serving tourists.
The trip was organized by the Honduran Ministry and Institute
of Tourism and whose mission is the same: to provide service
and protection to people who visit the countryâ€™s tourist