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Jan 3, 2011

US Company seeks exclusive cruise tourism contract

There were a number of controversies in cruise tourism when we left off last year. Zoning of the Fort Street Tourism Village and the proposed introduction of cruise tourism in the Placencia Peninsula were the two hot button issues. And to begin our newscast for 2011, we report on another storm brewing for stakeholders in the industry. It involves a exclusive tendering contract under consideration by the three cruise lines that call in Belize. Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines are said to be negotiating a tendering contract with a US based company that if it succeeds, can spell the death knell for local operators who ferry cruise visitors to and from the cruise lines. It is a developing story and News Five’s Isani Cayetano gathered the following information from many interested parties.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Cruise tourism in Belize is once again on the verge of significant changes that, if materialized, can bring additional problems to an already controversial industry.  Reports are that a Norwegian company based in Hawaii has landed two sizeable catamarans at the Port of Belize in Big Creek to operate as tenders to ferry passengers exclusively to and from the major cruise lines which dock off the coast of the Old Capital.  While there has not been an official statement the US based company, Pride of America Ship Holding, out of Honolulu may also be landing a singular contract that will see its vessels tendering Carnival, Norwegian and quite possibly Royal Caribbean cruise lines.  Small stakeholders, we are told, are concerned that the monopolization of the tendering business will jeopardize their investments in that aspect of the cruise tourism industry.

From what we understand there are several companies including EuroCaribe Shipping Services that do business with cruise lines in Miami which then subcontract boat operators to transport tourists back and forth from ships moored near Belize City.  As many as thirty tenders are said to service the various cruise ships on a weekly basis.  The only exception is Royal Caribbean which, as a result of its majority shareholding in a local shipping agency, uses its own fleet of four catamarans to ferry its guests to the Fort Street Tourism Village.  News Five also learnt that representatives of EuroCaribe who also represent Carnival in Belize, are currently in Miami attending a meeting to discuss the possible effects of consolidating the tendering business.

The concerns being raised by the smaller companies are in light of the fact that there are no regulations which prohibit outside companies such as Pride of America from entering the competition at what they consider an unfair advantage; bigger boats with greater seating capacities at an inexpensive price.  There is also word that Pride of America intends to originally subcontract existing boat operators for the same runs at a flat rate.  It is a situation that is quantified by the fact that each tender is manned by a crew of operators who make their money based on the amount of passengers per trip made.

In 2009 a total of seven hundred, five thousand, two hundred and nineteen cruise tourists disembarked in Belize.  From January to December of last year that figure increased by approximately fifty-eight thousand, five hundred and thirty passengers bringing the total for 2010 to a little over three quarters of a million visitors.  If an exclusive contract to transport cruise tourists to FSTV is granted to any one major outfit then it is apparent that it will gravely affect the existing small operators.

It is a developing situation which can potentially boil over into further chaos within the tourism industry.  News Five will keep you abreast on its progress. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

We are still not clear if the Belize Tourism Board will intervene in this issue.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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13 Responses for “US Company seeks exclusive cruise tourism contract”

  1. Robert says:

    MONOPOLY IS CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST, AND SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. Competition improves the breed, monopoly kills it.

    The government should never permit monopoly, except in the rare case of a strategic national industry — and I don’t think we have such an animal!

    Personally, I would vote to defeat any politician who supports any monopoly, EVERY TIME.

  2. rootsman says:

    It is apparent that the GOB is allowing this, how then can a company from a foreign country enter into Belize to conduct business unless they have the necessary permit, someone is getting paid, if the GOB had the interest of the Belizean people at heart this type of thing would never happen instead of creating jobs they are giving the jobs to outsiders maybe if they spend more time in the house in the interest of the people instead of creating laws to suit themselves things like this would not happen, take note Placencia they will be knocking at your doors next.

  3. el alcalde says:

    BELIZE SHOULD BE FOR BELIZEANS!!! NOT AMERICANS!!!

  4. BZNinCALI says:

    If we do not stand our ground, the big boys will come in, take what they want & we will still be at the back door begging for crumbs. Has anyone asked what these cruise companies want short of having us work for a plate of food & played hardball with them. Look at other countries they are now operating in & talk to them, I assure you, they are not pulling this crap everywhere.

  5. reggie says:

    all the owner of the Ferry Cruise get together and start to picket the BTB.The saying Belizean first is not working in the country.It should say fight for your Right is now the the way to go.Get the G.O.B. attention ASAP.Not sure if it will work because you know Funny Money make thing happen in the G.O.B.Remember if you want better for your kids you have to Stand up for you rights.January 17 is Martin Luther King Day .you guy should start to Stand up for your Family education and right to make a living in your country.Take action and stop cry like a baby.

  6. Earl Grey says:

    HELL NO………………………………….

  7. cg says:

    typical…we grow the industry as belizeans and foreigners come to step on our feet and take over with their big money. can’t anything remain local for once?…..

  8. Josie says:

    That’s how the US does business, it’s a dog eat dog world for them. I hope that the Belizeans in authority reject their request, they want to come to Belize under the pretense of development but only fill their pockets and push out the locals to satisfy their GREED. We were doing well without them in the past so if they threaten to not call at the port then so be it, this will force the government to put more emphasis on our agriculture sector and ensure the quality of the produce can compete. WE CAN DO IT, WE ARE A RESILIENT PEOPLE.

  9. Bengal says:

    The tourism board should intervene because our local people need to benefit from this venture. We can’t allow some foreign company or any sole local company to monopolize this service.
    come on Mr. tourism minister start flexing some power.

  10. ap says:

    Cruise tourism was a mistake from the get go.
    Be gone! Cruise Tourism!

  11. diddy says:

    From the fact that the two huge tenders r already in Belize means the deal has already been sealed. Talk about secret deal!!!! I want to know how they can offer much lower prices…GOB must of offered them tax exemption, tax free fuel etc! I smell Mike Singh all over this….seems funny he conveniently left BTB before this an is now at Beltraide!…convenient so he can set up tax exemptions for his buddies and HIS business ventures!!!!Corruption UDP style!

  12. rootsman says:

    Bengal, Mr. Tourism minister has already flexed his power he has done it the way he wants to do it, apparently these ministers makes decisions that will allow them to receive residual income from these transactions, just another way of being corrupted and it is plain as day that they don’t care about what anyone says, reason why the people of Belize needs to really get involved with the political process and stop voting for parties and vote instead for the right person for the job.

  13. vigilante justice 316 says:

    Typical…then they want to say that Belizean people this and Belizean people that. They expect us to bend over and get $&*#$% in the @$$ with no complaints when they monopolize the industry while poor people go without in their own country. These are the same things the breed hatred!

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