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Feb 10, 2011

Tourism Minister says his team is meeting with Carnival

Since the crisis involving tendering for cruise tourism broke, we have not heard from the Minister of Tourism. He accompanied the Prime Minister and B.T.B. officials to Miami on January seventh to meet with Carnival Cruise Lines but he has been quiet on that most important issue for the tourism industry. But today, Minister Manuel Heredia said that there may be an agreement in the near future on the price the tenders charge. Over one hundred and twenty persons earn a living from tendering and for them; it is a matter of bread and butter.  Heredia is hoping that the conflict over the pricing will be resolved by next week, and he is placing his confidence in a two-member team from the tourism sector who are currently in discussion with Carnival.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“It is not an easy fight with a monster like Carnival in particular, they’re the biggest.  Out of all the cruise, about four of them that come to Belize, they make a hundred and twenty-two calls a year, minimum.  Royal Caribbean made about fifty-eight, they will just be making about twenty-eight this year, Norwegian does about fifty-eight I think.  They will be increasing a little this year and probably if everything is resolved, Princess will be in shortly.  But I feel as a government and the Ministry of Tourism in particular and B.T.B. we’re trying to do the best for our small stakeholders. At the same time I have to be realistic that I cannot say that we are blaming Carnival or blaming the other because according to Carnival, their local agent they feel has been getting away for quite a while.  They say that they informed these persons for over a year that they should notify the small tenders that at a certain point they needed to have—that was not conveyed to the small tenders.  That was very unfortunate, but again it’s our responsibility of our administration to make sure that we protect them and we are willing to go as far as we need to go in order to protect them; that was signaled to Carnival.  So we came up with an agreement that up until October, that we’re supposed to still maintain this mix between the big and the small to give time to our local people to see how they can either refinance or see what can be done.  But at this point the crucial thing is the price of tendering, not so much the sizes at this point, it is more the prices that have been negotiated.  I am hoping that sometime early next week that that should be completed.  My director and my C.E.O. are in Miami right now having chats about these prices and the way forward.  I’m crossing my fingers to see if by next week if that contract can be signed, but if it can be signed the one closer to making it happen is still Martha, Martha Williams, who is willing to incorporate the small tenders into that up until October that we have the contract.   We still have the feeling that at the end of the day people that want to travel, want to come to Belize.  And it happened at one time that a group of about fifty approached Carnival and said if you divert, we want to be reimbursed completely.  We don’t want to go elsewhere.  And up to now there is no notice of cancellations happening.”

Marion Ali

“Ok, so you’re saying Carnival needs us as much as we need them?”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Yes, you’re right.”

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8 Responses for “Tourism Minister says his team is meeting with Carnival”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Manuel, your CEO needs to be negotiating instead of having chats with Carnival if you want to be taken seriously. What is supposed to happen in October? Jump through the same hoops again.

  2. rod says:

    what a bunch of whimps just tell carnival our terms if they dont like it let them go elsewhere we do not live and die with carnival if we had a real minister of tourism he would get up off his butt and go out into the world and get more cruise companies there are many many many more in the world who have never come to belize for example the middle east russia germany france england come on stop thinking small carnival is not the only cruise line in the world if they do not want our terms let them go else where why put all these people in depth when things go bad they will suffer and this pm and his people will sleep good at night while these people kill themselves thats the problem with this gov no leader and the rest think too small.

  3. Reds says:

    Well well, i was wondering how long till somebody came out and said who is behind all this tendering issue, because this issue has been burning for some time now and no names of the persons/person responsible has been called, but I’m glad that the minister of tourism himself came out and said it.
    Yeah why did the agent not tell the other small local tender operators that Carnival has been asking for bigger boats or catamarans, and yet that individual knowing the fact that carnival wanted catamarans went ahead and kept on getting catamarans for them self, was it the intentions to chisel out the little guys and keep it all for oneself, man I see this as all greed, and in the end we all could have been cut off of making any money from carnival, it’s like killing the goose that lays the golden egg, same thing they tried to do with the gate issue at the village. After all said i conclude by saying that “Curst greed of gold, what crimes thy tyrant power has caused”.

  4. Earl Grey says:

    If MINISTER HEREDIA is going to APPEAR ON TELEVISION…………

    THE LEAST HE COULD DO IS TO DRESS LIKE A PUBLIC OFFICIAL.

    IS A SHIRT AND TIE too much to ask?????????????????

    NOW……Why can’t they GIVE UP $2.00 ON THE WATER TO MAKE $20.00 ON LAND???????

  5. louisville,ky says:

    Earl, It is my understanding that at $5. per head with the exorbitant cost of fuel etc. the boat people are just about breaking even. Also bear in mind that tendering being a seperate business in and of itself, it would be impossible for the ferry owners to recoup monies they lose out on at such low fares.
    Yes, the BTB or GoB may choose to increase other fees and tariffs on the Cruisers but how will those price differences find it’s way into the pockets of the boat owners on the front end?
    It’s not about charging the Tourist more, it’s about making Carnival get up offa that thing and share it with our struggling boat owners.
    Stand up for something………..or you will fall for anything!!!

  6. Alva Bailey says:

    Really folks, as a North American citizen not affiliated with any cruiseline, there are many ports we can visit. I have visited Belize, unfortunately it is not one of the better ones but its name adds an exoticness to a travel brochure. No cruiser would want your boat people to lose money (obviously, if they do, they would be better to just shut down) but you must come to some terms that the cruise lines will accept.

  7. CEO says:

    So what is this meeting for to suck -up or to tell them how they will do business in Belize?

  8. Andrew says:

    Looks like Carnival is indicating they have just signed a contract for the tenders in Belize. I hope that is good news for both sides. I was in Belize aboard the Carnival Miracle and liked our time there and visit to Caye Caulker. I’m currently planning a land vacation there for next February. I hope tourists from both the cruise ship and non cruise ship are welcomed in Belize!

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