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Aug 14, 2013

B.T.B. to champion NCL’s opportunities to villages

Laura Esquivel Frampton

Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia took a back seat to Minister Hulse, and Laura Esquivel Frampton, the Director of Tourism.  The Belize Tourism Industry Association often referred to the Belize Tourism Board’s Sustainable Tourism Master. The B.T.I.A. noted that the master plan called for only a few hundred cruise ship passengers in the south. Although thousands will come on NCL ships to Harvest Caye, all presenters made it clear that they would not exceed the amount of visitors allowed at any tourism destination. Esquivel Frampton spoke about the economic benefit that would reach many villages in the south.

 

Laura Esquivel Frampton, Director of Tourism 

“Placencia can benefit…Independence, Seine Bight, San Juan, Red Bank, George Town, Maya Mopan, San Roman, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Maya Center, Silk Grass, Hopkins, Sittee River, Dangriga, Bella Vista, Trio, Bladen, Medina Bank, Monkey River, Punta Negra, Golden Stream, Indian Creek and Big Falls. And we talked on this with some authority. Our team has actually been out and we actually went in a car and tracked and saw how long it would take to get to these locations to make sure that they would be in line with a six to eight visit here in port and all of these are distinct possibilities. So what we are saying is that we are bringing economic opportunities to all of these villages and our course we have already listed all the businesses that can come about. I notice here that we have the cacao growers, there is banana farm tours; we also know that we have orange fields there…so all the possibilities are there. I think Marie Sharp also does a tour of her site. So all of these things can be incorporated. So what do we have to do now? Well we have to be prepared and we have about twenty-four months to get prepared for this project and that requires that we have the suitable infrastructure in place. We will have our capacity limits in place and we will be working along with the National Institute of Culture and History to ensure that we have those capacity limits in place—at least for the archeological sites and with the other park managers for their sites. There is no study that had been produced or no evidence that has been produced to say that cruise tourism negatively impacts overnight tourism. In fact, our numbers as we continue to have high growth in the cruise tourism industry right now coming in Belize City, we see our numbers for overnight growing exponentially. Last year alone, the number was ten percent over the previous years in overnight. We are developing a community tour guide program which is specific for persons who are living in small communities, who are probably going to stay in their small communities and conduct tours near those community sites.”

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