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Jan 13, 2017

N.C.L. still committed to Old Capital calls says Tourism Minister

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Harvest Caye, the exclusive island property owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines in the South of Belize, continues to be a sore point for some tour operators, who complain that they are being cheated out of customers who believe they are calling in Belize City instead of at the island. They have also complained of heavy losses with the departure of Norwegian. But in response to a question from area representative for Toledo West, Oscar Requeña; the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior, noted that there has been no significant withdrawal of Norwegian from the Tourism Village in Belize City in 2016.  Going into 2017, he says that Norwegian is holding to their agreement, but if for some reason that changes, then other cruise lines are ready and willing to step into the breach.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“At no time – what Prime Minister and I agreed, we are keeping to that promise. N.C.L. continues to call to Belize and will continue to call in 2017 also. And I can quote you the numbers: in 2014, N.C.L. had sixty-four calls to Belize City; in 2015 they had seventy-two calls. In 2016, they had ninety-six calls which is thirty percent of the total calls; seventy-nine of those calls were to Belize City, and seventeen to Harvest Caye. But nonetheless, you can recall that you and the representative from Toledo East were very vocal in supporting us, that you want cruise [tourism] in the south of Belize, and that is happening so that is precisely where we are aiming. But just to let you know, if for some reason N.C.L. decide to pull off and go completely to the South – which you all would be getting a lot more people – there are two more cruise lines that are already interested and will be paying a few calls this year; that is the T.Y. cruise line, European cruise line and the MSC cruise line which is always willing to take the vacuum if anything. So the numbers for Belize City will not decrease; rather it will increase because there are other cruise lines that are willing to come – only because that the Village is a little too small to accommodate too many cruise lines; otherwise we would be having more.”

 

Just before the House ended its sitting today around five, the leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, rose to speak on the critical issue of crime.  One hundred and thirty eight persons were murdered in 2016, the highest number of murders recorded since 2012. The Opposition proposed that a bi-partisan approach to the perennial problem may reduce crime.  Briceño specifically called for the setting up of a committee from both sides to come up with solutions. The Prime Minister agreed. We will have much more from today’s House meeting in Monday’s newscast.

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