Tourism Zone Residents Complain About New Measures by B.T.B., CitCo
More traffic, more noise, more chaos and significantly less profits, as residents, businesses and tour operators are livid that the Belize Tourism Board is once again proposing a shakeup of the Fort George Tourism Zone. This afternoon, stakeholders, big and small, as well as residents of Fort George, convened a press conference where major concerns were tabled regarding new measures that are being put forward by B.T.B. and the Belize City Council. Those changes were introduced at a public consultation last Thursday during which it was revealed that the flow of vehicular traffic will be altered within the congested Fort Street neighborhood. Additionally, City Hall is also preparing to levy a three-hundred-dollar fee for vendors using city council’s facilities. This, at a time when the cruise tourism high season is at its least profitable for independent tour operators and vendors, has stakeholders up in arms. To make matters worse, the increased traffic threatens to affect the comfort of guests at the Radisson Hotel, a landmark in the area that has been in operation for over fifty years.
Jim Scott, General Manager, Radisson
“B.T.B. wants to change again the flow of traffic of vehicles and create more environmental hazards for the residents, business community and the entrepreneurs that are working in this area and further separate the visitors coming on cruise ships from the local population. I think the idea that everybody had agreed on was that if all cruise passengers who were either on a contracted or a non-contracted tour were to leave the terminals and go through the park. So, therefore, exponentially that would increase the number of people flowing through our streets, having access to entrepreneurs like yourselves and artists like yourselves. It wouldn’t just be the people weh di trickle out right now, the crumbs, as you said. It would be everybody who is getting on a bus and is going somewhere, or a vehicle or a taxi or doing something.”
“Absolutely, absolutely object to and condemn any move that puts passenger vehicles, especially at the bus level along here and in front there.”
“Right. And remember, it’s not just in the morning when they leave. It’s when they come back from their trip as well, you have another opportunity for access of meeting one of our visitors to the country. So that’s very important. One of the things that we echoed at that first consultation was before you start designing this idea of how pretty Belize City is and how cool Belize City is, mek we mek it pretty first. Mek we put the garbage bins out there, mek we fix di drains and the streets to make it more pedestrian friendly, not just for the foreigners who come here but all of us who walk the streets.”