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Jul 25, 2013

Pocket Tourism only acceptable choice for cruise ship industry

Stewart Krohn

The membership of the Belize Tourism Industry Association is one of the strongest in the country. But despite the strong opposition from the B.T.I.A. and from environmental groups to the NCL project, there is a strong possibility that the updated M.O.U. may be signed very soon. But what scale of investment would be acceptable by the industry? And how far is the B.T.I.A. willing to take the battle? That’s what we asked the B.T.I.A. Placencia Chairman.

 

Reporter

“What would be acceptable? How many ships? How many passengers? What rate? What would be acceptable to the B.T.I.A.?”

 

Stewart Krohn, Chairman, Placencia B.T.I.A.

“The National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan which was created at great expense to the Ministry of Tourism and the Belize Tourism Board lays out very carefully the type of tourism that best suits the south. It says pocket cruise tourism is the only type of cruise tourism that should ever be allowed on the south coast of Belize. It then defined pocket tourism as cruise tourism using ships with less than two hundred and fifty passengers. It could not be clearer. This was a policy that was worked on for years. It was endorsed by the B.T.B., by the Ministry of Tourism and then presented to cabinet by the Minister of Tourism and it was passed unanimously by cabinet. Period, end of report; done. Why the Ministry of Tourism, with the support of cabinet, now comes back and says well guess what that report or that policy which was heralded by the government…suddenly that is not important anymore. We’ve got these people who want to put cruise ships with four thousand people down here; that’s okay. Now why on earth would you create a very specific policy and the first time it can be violated, they lay down and violate the policy—not violate in a small way, but in a huge way. Two hundred and fifty passenger maximum says the policy. NCL bringing in ships of four thousand people. I don’t understand what’s going on. It just makes no sense.”

 

Reporter

“Assuming that NCL does get the approval of cabinet for the scope of this investment, is B.T.I.A. willing to join with the environmental groups or are in a position to have some sort of formal protest against it?”

 

Stewart Krohn

“I’ll speak for as far as Placencia chapter of B.T.I.A. goes, we take nothing off the table. We are in this for keeps. We think this proposal for mass cruise tourism in the south is a disastrous proposal. If cabinet approves it, it is a disastrous position. And we will do everything, absolutely everything in our power to stop it.”

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