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Nov 17, 2014

COLA Sounds the Alarm on Cruise Industry Threat

Geovannie Brackett

At today’s press conference, COLA president Geovannie Brackett raised alarms on what he calls an issue that has the potential to shut down the existing cruise tourism industry. Fort Street Tourism Village (F.S.T.V.) holds bargaining power by being the only port of entry for cruise ships in Belize District for the next fifteen years, as it has been since the early 2000′s. But it is facing competition from rivals Stake Bank and Harvest Caye owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines. Brackett says that with the coming of larger ships Belize stands to lose it all if there are no accommodations being made.

 

Geovannie Brackett, President, COLA

“Sources to our organization have informed us of a meeting between representatives of Royal Caribbean line which has minority shares in the Fort Street Tourism Village and Belize’s Director of Tourism Karen Bevans on the sidelines of a Florida Caribbean Cruise Association meeting in St. Maarten.  The cruise ship companies want Belize to indeed build a port and this is nothing new to the media that a port facility is very important and there are several reasons why.  Because the cruise lines, as Tom would know, are moving in a direction to what they call Oasis class ships, am I right Tom?  Mega ships, and these ships are too large for us to tender.  They can hold capacity of seven thousand five hundred passengers and two thousand, five hundred employees.  And so it is needless to say the importance of moving forward building a docking facility.  The second thing we need to note is that when you have the ship anchored as is the situation currently right now that the crew, the majority of the crew is not able to come off and the crews are people who spend money as well.  That is money being lost.”

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