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Dec 29, 2010

Tourism high season off to a disappointing start

Traditionally, the high season in the tourism industry, is well underway at this time of the year. But it has had a disappointing start so far. At the Fort Street Tourism Village, a large number of traders are looking for business among the low number of visitors, even though a cruise ship called on port today. What’s worst, those who are visiting are keeping their money in their pockets. News Five’s Marion Ali was in the village today and found a lot of frustrated traders.

Marion Ali, Reporting

It was expected that the beginning of the peak season, the tourism slump would transform into a thriving industry.  But today was no different from last month or even last year, for traders outside the Fort Street Tourism Village.  They told us that the season brought no new promise for a brighter tourism year.

roberto lozano

Roberto Lozano, Trader, FSTV

“Christmas this year is really too hard for us because we noh di make the kinda money we used to make before.  Now everything you see right here, if tourists come and shopping I give them just for cheaper prices because mekih go along and fi mek a little something.”

Cynthia Myvett, Trader, FSTV

Cynthia Myvett

“Things not selling that much cause for instance you’d bring out let’s say a table full of carvings, let’s say you’d get bout half or quarter of them sell.  Yohker back yoh whole table, yoh sell one, two and yoh ker back all yoh things dem back home.”

Business is so bad for the traders that they have had to slash their prices to attract sales.

monroe dennison

Monroe Dennison, Wood Carver

“Most of the time the price that you want for your pieces the tourist does not want to really purchase right.”

Marion Ali

“So you have to reduce yoh price?”

Monroe Dennison

“Everytime, everytime.”

But even though it’s slow, Randolph Gordon prefers to stick with what he knows.

Randolph Gordon, Wood Carver, FSTV

Randolph Gordon

“Dehn want to pay wehdehn want to give and sometimes we got to accept it.”

Marion Ali

“It’s just a sign of the global recession I think.”

Randolph Gordon

“Mhmmm, right, I would say that too, but I love the trade soh I just do it because it keep me outta trouble. I never graduate from college so I can’t work in a bank soh this come to be bigger than the bank.  It’s like a university trade.”

These visitors from Liverpool, England weren’t looking for a lesson in woodcarving, or even a souvenir, but they were still enjoying something local.

Marion Ali

“How has your trip been going?”

Wayne Williamson, Tourist

Wayne Williamson

“It’s been good, thanks.”

Marion Ali

“You just came off the ship?”

Wayne Williamson, Tourist

“Yeah, about two hours ago.”

Marion Ali

“First time here?”

collette williamson

Collette Williamson, Tourist
“First time, lovely yeah.”

Marion Ali

“And the beer is good too, I take it?”

Collette Williamson, Tourist

“Beer’s very good.  (Laughs)”

Hopefully, the year ahead turns out to be just as good for our local traders. Marion Ali for News Five.

The BTB offices were closed this afternoon so we could not get a precise figure on the number of overnight visitors. In respect of cruise ship visitors, where the BTB is spending a lot of energy, the number we are told unofficially is slightly up.

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12 Responses for “Tourism high season off to a disappointing start”

  1. Belizequeen says:

    I am not sure exactly which world the BTB is living in, but tourism has been and continues to be in a flat slump. And yet we are being told arrivals are up, things are looking up – where exactly is this happening?

    BTB is doing a POOR job of marketing Belize against other destinations. We have managed to employ people who can’t sell PARADISE.

  2. Oscar965 says:

    BTB should launch a massive training campaign. Anyone working in the tourist industry should attent Training School and it should be MANDATORY. Everyone should carry ID so tourist know that they are dealing with someone who is trained and not dealing with people who only hustle. Tourist DO NOT LIKE TO BE HUSTLED. We have too many people working in the tourist industry who are not prepared and just hustle tourist. and that will be the downfall of tourism in Belize. All the BTB is good for is “press conferences”. Too much talk..no action!!!

  3. Ex-tourist says:

    Cruise ship tourists do not spend much money (except in port taxes which the government gets) – concentrate on the overnight tourism instead!

  4. Pervo says:

    The only place tourism has gone up is in the pockets of the BTB henchmen & women. We need to remove the illiterate joker minister of tourism and put someone else in charge.

  5. Sweetcheeks says:

    Before blaming the BTB maybe people should ask these vendors, and hairbraiders waht they r doing wrong. If they quarrel & fight over the tourist heads then how will they make business.

  6. NJM says:

    all i I have to say is that tourism everywhere in the world has been going down and it’s not going to get anybetter. Plus Belize is a very expensive country to visit in comparison to our neighbouring countries. I think it has a lot to do with the people in charge of running the tourism campaign and soem people who are not even Belizean who try and campaign for their pocket! not that i’m accusing government because both governments have failed to launch or make Belize the great tourist attraction it can potentially be!! and yes our craftman and everyone involved in tourism need a bit more training in how to handle tourist and how to behave around them. I think we are still a bit behind… oh and I also want to ask the government to stop giving an industry life(tourism) and murdering an old an sacred industry (fishing) stop blaming fishermen for destruction of natural resources, and look to manage or better manage your tourism that cause just as much harm.

  7. OW Resident says:

    Belizeans we need to step up to the plate and be more competitive not with aggression but with quality service. We need to be trained and professionals when engaging the tourist. There is also the need to reconsider the prices, maybe instead of charging lets say 50 Us per head for a trip and take 5 person charge lets say 45$ US per head and take 6. Sometime tourguides and tour operators try to make all their profits out of 1 tourist. Tour guides need to also take responsibilty of ensuring that the sites they visit are degraded due to negligence. Pick up after your tourist, encourage others not to throw garbage. On a whole we Belizeans need to stop throwing gargage all over the place. I have seen people just throw garbage with the no care at all. I know that the City council and GOB can do a lot more to clean the city but we must stop littering our streets then so maybe the GOB can concentrate effort and finance to fix the pot holes. Look at the Palloti bus stop always filled with plastic bags and empty bags. Just by cleaning infront of our property one can help to make this place better. Why wait on the GOB.. It starts with us…

  8. TIKALFRS says:

    Belize, a beautiful paradise known for its impresive beaches and warmth of their multiculture, is one step behind all other central american destinations. On my opinion the belize tourism board needs to focus more on marketing and getting all other places interested in visiting the country. They need to enhance new and inovating packages which should attract a more money catious tourist which thinks different on how to invenst in visisting places. You need to expand your limits and work out better deals even so to attract local central american countries to visit!

  9. Earl Grey says:

    THE WORLD ECONOMY IS DOWN………. why should Belize be any different????????

  10. egbert says:

    Air fares to belize need to be more competitive with other tourist destinations. Since European countries along with the USA are all feeling the pinch of the sluggish world economy,the cost of a trip to Belize for a foreign family is too high,even the vacation packages are too high.

    Usually when a tourist planning a vacation compares costs to Bze vs other destinations in basically the same geographic area, they will skip Belize.

  11. yooperJim says:

    i have visited 4 times in the last twenty years and although each visit was always pleasant i have found Belize much more expensive than its neighbors like Honduras, Guatemala and mexico. particularly the difference in airfare and departure taxes. the airfares to Belize are US$200-US$300 per ticket more than to nearby airports. i known it doesn’t cost an airline less to fly to san pedro sula than to Belize city so i must attribute the cost difference to excessively high landing fees for the airlines. since i travel with my family the airfare cost is one of the most expensive parts of the trip. on the plus side however, once in the country costs are reasonable for food. lodging and tours. i also find it troubling that the departure tax must be be paid us dollars despite both the Belizean dollar and Belize’s own bank act saying Belizean currency must be accepted without exception. my last several trips to central america have been to Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua primarily because of the US$1000 difference in airfares for my family between these countries and Belize.

  12. The People Had Enough says:

    Can we stop comparing the tourism season with day visitors at the Tourism Village in Belize? PLEASE PLEASE STOP!!! Cruise Visitors has nothing to do wit the overall TOURISM in Belize. Start assessing and catering the real tourists, you know, the ones who come and spend money in on tropic and maya, on taxis, to go stay at their hotels, and restaurants and tour operators and tour guides all over the country and the multiplying effect goes on and on. To hell with cruise tourism, we need to start catering and developing Belize for high end tourism.

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