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Oct 22, 2014

Tourism Minister Says Cruise Protocols Being Reviewed

Following the Ebola scare last week, several measures were put in place before passengers of cruise ships are disembarked to come on land. The new protocols such as screening of passports are causing huge delays for cruise ships passengers who spend an average of eight hours in Belize. On some days, up to four ships call to port and there are few immigration officers to deal with the screenings. The cruise lines have reportedly expressed concern about the effect the measures are having on its passengers. Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior, told the media that stakeholders have been in communication with the cruise lines and are discussing ways to ease the process.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“Whenever these type of activities happen, as a government we have to be extremely cautious; it is a very sensitive industry and it is the bread and butter of many destinations. There were some measures that were taken, but again, you know the cruise lines also have, they are a business entity, and they want to make sure that the passengers are safer. So there are certain measures, particularly one with the passports that was taken that we are revisiting that particular one. And I believe that indeed we supposed to do so because these people, it is not the first point of entrance, Belize is not the first destination. They go to Honduras, Mexico and then finally Belize. So we are looking at that and I am hoping that by this evening, we will have a concrete idea as to how we will move forward in that direction.”

 

Duane Moody

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Is there concern there where carnival cruise lines might decide to pull its port of call to Belize and affect the tourism industry?”

 

Reporter

“And adding to that, while he is asking if there was some concern, was there a letter or some form of correspondence that came in from the cruise line threatening to do so?”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“No, I’ll let them tell you….they were worried about the measures that we had taken. But I am sure that the communication between both entities of the cruise lines and our government officials, I am sure that by this evening that will be resolved.”

 

Late this afternoon, the B.T.B. agreed to streamline measures to allow for a smoother flow in processing passengers.

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