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Feb 1, 2011

4 ships cancelled on Belize; it’s hard times for tourism stakeholders

There’s still uncertainty in cruise tourism tonight. As it stands, Carnival is yet to make a decision on proposals presented on behalf of the Executive Tenders of Belize Ltd which says it is not budging from the six dollars and fifty cents it charges to ferry passengers to and from the cruise line. The tender operators are not the only ones that are feeling the financial pinch, there are many others directly or indirectly that are being impacted by the ongoing standoff.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a look at the financial implications brought about by last week’s cancellations of four vessels.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Negotiations between tender operators, the Belize Tourism Board and cruise line executives remain open despite the cancellation of several ships within Carnival’s fleet last week.  A total of four vessels; namely Carnival Dream, Glory, Valor and Legend were all redirected to other ports in neighboring countries.  The withdrawal of weekly visits to Belize came as a result of failure on the part of Carnival and local tender operators to agree on a fixed rate to ferry passengers to the Fort Street Tourism Village.

While the world’s largest cruise line remains at odds with the newly formed Executive Tenders of Belize Ltd. revenue for several organizations dependent upon cruise tourism has seen a decline.  These agencies which include the Belize Tourism Board, the Fort Street Tourism Village, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust and the Belize City Council are each reliant on proceeds derived from what is called a head tax.  The fourteen dollar fee is calculated such that F.S.T.V. gets the lion’s share of the profit at eight dollars per head.  The remainder is then divided between B.T.B. and PACT, the former, three dollars and twenty cents and the latter, two dollars and eighty cents.  Individually, each agency donates thirty-three cents to the Ministry of Local Government which in turn deposits a dollar into the Belize City Council’s account.

Tender operators have put losses at more than a million dollars but the B.T.B. says that last week alone the industry realized an estimated loss of eight hundred thousand dollars.  That’s an average of eighty dollars being spent by each of the ten thousand visitors that would have disembarked in Belize.  In translation it’s a deficit of seventy-six thousand, seven hundred dollars for the tourism village; twenty-eight thousand, seven hundred for the tourism board and twenty-four thousand, seven hundred for PACT.  The Belize City Council, on the other hand, would have gotten ten thousand dollars.

The financial impact from losses within that three-day period, Tuesday thru Thursday, also extends to the private sector but it is the local government, the tourism board and PACT that will suffer the brunt of the shortfall.  Monies derived from the head tax is critical to the City Council’s municipal upkeep while the Protected Areas Conservation Trust uses its proceeds to fund various organizations including Ya’Axche and Restore Belize.  Complete withdrawal of Carnival Cruise Line from Belize would not bring an end to the collection of head tax from cruise tourists but it would definitely bring significant losses to these three agencies which rely heavily on that revenue stream to finance their social projects.

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

This week, Legend is the only vessel from Carnival’s fleet that is scheduled to call in Belize with two thousand five hundred passengers.

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14 Responses for “4 ships cancelled on Belize; it’s hard times for tourism stakeholders”

  1. Lucas says:

    I hope and pray that those Belizeans on the field that have taken a stand will stand firm even at a lose but if they blink, I can assure them the lose will be even much greater.

  2. Lindsay Howard says:

    Cruise ship tourism is “crack tourism.” The cruise lines get you hooked with sweet promises of how good it will be, how much you’ll like it — and that you can quit any time you want.

    But, by the time you realize what’s happening to you, that you’ve become a junkie, it’s too late. You’re too dependent on dollars from the cruise ship tourism that is destroying your national pride, your environment and your will power, and you can’t say no anymore because you’re hooked.

    The cruise lines are our dealers and Belize is the crack head.

  3. cindy says:

    Come on Belizeans you get feed on cruise ships. stop being greedy. more crime will rise when no cruise ships comes in and no tourist travel here. every one is making an alternative to go somewhere and leave belize. then they will baul government no help when its the people being greedy.

  4. chabelli says:

    Is this a case of greed killing the goose?????????????

  5. Josie says:

    Cindy and Chabelli it is not a case of being greedy, it is standing up to the BULLIES of AMERICA, Wake up and stand firm. BE BELIZEAN FIRST AND FOREMOST EVERYTHING ELSE SHOULD BE SECONDARY, LIFE IS NOT ONLY ABOUT MONEY.

  6. reggie says:

    Damn is look like the whole country of Belize live off the cruise line.what wore the people doing before the cruse line stop in Belize?The G.O.B. make the cruse liner fell like if you don’t stop here we are going to die.will they are doing just that. All the problem fall back in the lap of the G.O.B. both party.
    My People get together and make it happen.Get rid of the PM. he make a law that if any minister is not doing the job the people can get him out.This is the time to make a move.power to you all.

  7. Robert says:

    How much income can Belize afford to lose? Once these cruise ships settle into comfortable foreign ports that welcome them, they will NEVER return here.

    It would make sense for me for the businesses that benefit from the tourists to get their own ferries, and subsidize bringing the people to their businesses. The greedy middlemen — the tender operators — obviously don’t care if they kill off all the port business here, as long as they get an extra shilling.

  8. louisville,ky says:

    Carnival is just a big bully who wants to have it’s way with a country and people whose only fault is that they opened their home to share the wonders of the Jewel with them. Tell you what; stand firm my people because if you succumb to the pressures of this vulture today, you will have to bend over even more tomorrow.
    Let us use this experience as a reason why we should not be sleeping with anybody else eyes. We should also be using this opportunity to lobby other cruise lines, putting in place the terms of refferences under which business will be conducted, so as to avoid a reccurence of this chance taking.

  9. Charles Green says:

    Please do your homework before you go on air. Carnival Dream DID visit Belize last Tuesday, only three ships were diverted, (Glory, Legend and Valor)

  10. From the West says:

    In Belize, we manage to destroy every industry, sugar, then citrus and now the cruise business, I hope smarter heads will prevail.

  11. shy says:

    UNBELIEVABLE THAT THE TENDERS ONLY GET 5 BELIZE DOLLARS PER HEAD WHILE THE DAM OWNERS OF THE TOURIST VILLAGE GET 8 !!!!!!!!

  12. cruise traveller says:

    I don’t think Carnival wants to use the tender operators at all no matter what the price. I think what they really want is to ferry the passengers from ship to shore themselves using their own lifeboats.

  13. BZNinCALI says:

    Before we beat up on the “greedy” tender operators. Let’s look realistically at whether or not these men can survive on what Carnival has offered to pay them & if the price per head was designed to bankrupt them. Many of them still have mortgages on their boats, they have to pay their employees & there is no doubt in my mind that based on the boat’s capacity, they are required to have a certain number of deck hands.

  14. Josie says:

    cruise traveller while agree with you that carnival don’t want to use the local tender operator, they want to come into our country and demand that we adhere to their greed and shut out the locals, again we must all be BELIZEANS FIRST, STAND UP AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER ROOT OUT THE TYRANTS

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