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Dec 22, 2014

Tracy Taegar-Panton on the Effect of Cuba and U.S. Relations on Tourism

Tracy Taeger-Panton

Last week we told you about the historic renewal of diplomatic affairs between the governments of Cuba and the United States. The news was followed by the announcement of the establishment of diplomatic missions in Havana and Washington. But there is also another outcome of the decision; that is, Cuba as a tourist destination. So is the B.T.B. at all concerned about the effects that it can possible have on Belize and its tourism numbers?

 

Tracy Taeger-Panton, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism

“We are excited actually that the U.S. is looking favorably at Cuba. We have always maintained relations with Cuba in many programs; tourism being one of them. We think that the impact on Belize could be positive. We have two different types of products and we have a different market. Cuba is a mass tourism market; Belize is a niche tourism market so we don’t think at all that the opening of Cuba will adversely affect the type of traveler that comes to Belize.”

 

Reporter

“Also Cuba is a cruise tourism destination as well and it is closer to the south west. Do you believe it will have any bearing on the way traffic is moved in this region?”

 

Tracy Taeger-Panton

“They might be looking at new itineraries. Belize is special and I’ll tell you why. A cruise ship is in Belize for eight hours or in any destination. Belize has a very diverse tour options and it is close to get there. So you can do many tours within the eight-hour period. That is really Belize’s unique and competitive advantage over any destination, Cuba included. So I don’t foresee at all, Cuba opening up and being a cruise port itself will affect what Belize has. What Belize has is very special in terms of product but also in terms of time to travel to and from a particular site.”

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