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Dec 1, 2016

B.T.I.A. Wants G.O.B. to Protect Local Tourism Industry in Wake of Harvest Caye

Norwegian Cruise Line has come under fire from local tour operators for diverting newer cruise ships south to their brand-new exclusive property at Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District. Operators, particularly those from the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB), have complained of up to seventy-five percent in lost earnings from bookings for tours. According to Director of Tourism Karen Bevans, N.C.L. and the Belize Tourism Board are planning a joint press conference in the week of December twelfth to explain the situation and their plans. But the Belize Tourism Industry Association, which successfully sued the Department of the Environment and National Environmental Appraisal Committee in January over procedures used to guide the Harvest Caye project to completion, says the country is now feeling the effects of lost wages that could have been used to develop southern Belize’s tourist destinations. He has a solution for the Government to pursue.

 

John Burgos

John Burgos, Executive Director, B.T.I.A.

“We have several of our members that are service providers to the cruise industry. But one of the key reasons why we advocated [that we were] not in favour of the Harvest Caye project from Norwegian Cruise Line, is for the main reason: we saw what is happening right now that was gonna be a given, that was something coming. There is no reason why you gonna invest one hundred million dollars in a port in the south of Belize and still do a call in Belize City: that was a given. We told the industry, we told stakeholders, a lot of people did not listen – now they are feeling directly the effect in their pockets. So what cruise tourism has brought in Placencia now is you have moved a lot of bread and butter from Belize City to Southern Belize now, which is something that you cannot stop, you cannot reverse, it’s going to happen. What government needs to do now is to focus and to increase their marketing efforts in promoting overnight tourism so that those tour operators who are experiencing a shortage of business in Belize City, can have a subsidy for what they used to have before.”

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