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Feb 21, 2014

Executives call out Chukka and B.T.B. on state of cruise tourism industry

David Almendarez

Among other issues discussed were FECTAB’s perennial gripe with Chukka and the Memorial Park as part of the Fort Street Tourism Zone.  David Almendarez, an executive of the organization, brought into sharp focus what seems to be an underutilization of the park, despite the massive investment that went into its renovation.

 

David Almendarez, Tour Operator

“I’m going to show you a picture.  You guys know this?  Less than a block away, millions of dollars invested.  Over two years of construction, way behind time, every time we asked them when will this park be done?  Well guys, I barely have a high school diploma, ah noh gaan da no university, and I told these guys this was a waste of money from the time we started this.  How can you tell the tourist to come and shop with the locals when the cruise ships are telling them only book cruise ship tours, don’t walk out of the village because it’s not safe.  This is a waste of time.  This is now known as Ghost Town.  Nothing happens there.  I’m going to keep it short and brief because I can go on forever.  My simple recommendation, they say you never come to a table without recommendations.  My simple recommendation, we need to get rid of the Minister of Tourism.  We need to get rid of the head of B.T.B.  We need to get rid of the people who have fancy names, ex-prime minister names and fancy portfolios and get people that are into tourism, love the country and looking out for Belizeans.  No other country this happens guys.  And if nobody else is going to ring the alarm I’m ringing the alarm.  Get rid of the B.T.B., get rid of the minister.  The same way the prime minister can swoop in and help the citrus industry, you can swoop in and help the sugar industry, swoop in and help the tourism industry because this is not going to last for much longer.”

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