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Nov 26, 2014

Would A Cruise Port Prevent Cancellations?

Valdemar Andrade

B.T.B. has gone on record to make clear its support for a cruise port of any kind to be built in Belize.  Andrade told us that today’s incident underscores that need.  While he would not be drawn to expressing support for specific projects such as Stake Bank, he echoed the sentiments of stakeholders that Belize’s industry will be severely hampered without one, especially with confirmation that the major cruise lines are moving to use larger Oasis-class ships in the near future.  Even as he referred questions on the legal gridlock between Fort Street and Stake Bank’s proprietors to Director of Tourism Karen Bevans, Andrade says B.T.B. wants to facilitate the process where possible.

 

Valdemar Andrade, Director of Cruise and Regional Operations, Belize Tourism Board

“For this season, yes, this is the first time that we have not been able to tender especially on a four-ship day. But we prefer taking precautionary measures rather than to have any incidences on port. What happens in many cases is that if we are able to wait a little while, the winds usually fall and we have better weather as the day progresses because usually in the morning is when we have the bad weather. So as long as the ships can wait and it doesn’t create a problem for their schedule to steam to the next port, then we are able to wait it out. That is something that I would have to ask the Director of Tourism to comment on because it is a legal matter and I am not privy to the legal discussions have been with respect to that. but I do know that from our, as I said before, from our perspective at the Belize Tourism Board, we will be able to try to do anything to facilitate that a port comes onboard as quickly as  possible. In our discussions with the Florida and Caribbean Cruise Associations and all the cruise lines and everybody, they are signaling that they are going to oasis class ships within the next two years. If you know how the cruise industry works, they do planning of itineraries in two-year tranches and so we technically are already behind and so we need to be able to ramp that up and so we have to try to facilitate whatever it is for a port to come on stream.”

 

It is expected that things will return to normal by Thursday. 

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