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May 22, 2020

FECTAB Wants 40/60 Split for Sales on Mainland Tours

A week after its leaders were arrested for holding an illegal protest, the FECTAB executive held a press conference in Belize City. And because of social distancing and the size of gatherings, a limited number of media workers were allowed inside. But as we reported on Thursday there is a rift within the organization with some members not supporting the way things are run. Today, FECTAB installed a president and said it wants to be part of the economic recovery of the tourism industry. But it also admitted that it is tied to the Stake Bank Project so that its stakeholders did not have an option to consider other developments. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

There was heavy police presence at the Belize Institute of Management compound this morning where the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize, FECTAB, held a press conference to discuss the state of tourism in these COVID times.  It is the first media event the organization has held since its members were arrested last week for a failed protest on Coney Drive.  Despite the fracture within the organization that became apparent in a recorded discussion on Wednesday night, FECTAB is looking forward to the recovery of the tourism industry.  For Tom Greenwood, its outgoing president, that begins with a revamping of all contractual agreements with the cruise lines.


Tom Greenwood, Executive, FECTAB

Tom Greenwood

“We at the time wrote an agreement, we meaning the Government of Belize and the [Belize] Tourism Board, wrote an agreement with the cruise lines which is now twenty-years-old and it’s out of whack.  Laws are like that, you write laws and humanity moves on and laws have to be adjusted so that there is no imbalance so that everybody profits rather than suffers.  Well unfortunately, a fair number of Belizeans, all investing in the cruise industry, have suffered because that agreement is out of whack.  So we’re going to be asking the Belize Tourism Board and the Government of Belize, of course, and we’re going to play our part in trying to offer what changes there should take place and start up a new agreement with the cruise lines before they begin returning.”


According to Greenwood, they will propose a forty/sixty split in the sale of tours onboard the ship and on the mainland.  This, he says, is the case in other Caribbean countries.


Tom Greenwood

“You go to other countries, the Caribbean for instance, when ships show up there they can only sell forty percent of what’s onboard, sixty percent comes ashore and they can buy locally.  Not that all sixty will buy because you never get more than sixty or seventy percent of ships taking tours.  Belize has one of the highest scores, up to eighty-five percent, but we are going to push for the agreement to read that the ships will sell only forty percent onboard, the rest must come ashore.  This way players inside the tourist village, like where we are right now, and the ones outside get a chance at more than crumbs.”


FECTAB’s recent gripe has to do with a proposed cruise terminal to be constructed in the vicinity of the Port of Belize Ltd.  Yohnny Rosado, a founding member of the organization, says that they feel slighted that they were never consulted about the project.


Yohnny Rosado

Yohnny Rosado, Executive, FECTAB

“He is working out an SI for a cruise port and we were not informed and invited in no way and it is very delicate when you’re trying to do business and not involving the stakeholders.  The very same stakeholders that have been fighting against all odds to be part of something.  It cannot be that we are Belizeans and we cannot grow and live happily in our own country with our own minerals, with our own tourists, with our own boats, with our own vans.”


Part of the reason for a chasm within the organization is the fact that FECTAB has aligned itself with the Stake Bank project, not allowing its membership to object or consider other options in the cruise tourism sector.


David Almendarez, Executive, FECTAB

David Almendarez

“We are happy to announce that several meetings and consultations with the Feinstein Group and FECTAB have happened.  The FECTAB members, as I’ve said before, will have access to an enclosed air conditioned, world class designed, great first impression reception area.  This is to be completed in eighteen months.  Note, this was achieved without government intervention or manipulation.”


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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