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Jul 7, 2021

The Carnival Vista Docks in Belize City

It may have been just one ship, but today, after eighteen months of no visitors, the Fort Street Tourism Village was buzzing with activity. News Five’s Duane Moody was back in the area, this time to capture the action. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

It was a festive occasion this morning as the Carnival Vista came to port in Belize City. On board were two thousand eight hundred and ten passengers, ninety-seven percent fully vaccinated, and ready to experience the culture and adventure of Belize.


Noriko Gamero

Noriko Gamero, Director of Cruise Tourism, B.T.B.

“The excitement is super high. Just kind of the longest anticipated wait for that first passenger to come off. We have entertainment here; we are doing giveaways, the people are super excited, everyone is following protocols – they are wearing their masks. I am happy to report that all of the tours are just moving flawlessly. We are just excited to hear the feedback at the end of the day, post-mortem, regroup next week and make it even better.”


As early as six a.m. today, buses lined Marine Parade waiting to pick up their pre-booked passengers, while tour guides stood outside terminal one with their signs ready to greet the tourists as they exit the gates.  Protocols set in place, the tenders went out to ferry the tourists from the ship to mainland; inside the Fort Street Tourism Village was buzzing today with activity after eighteen month due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the industry to its knees.


Noriko Gamero

“The logistical part of it is first of all you have to get them from the ship. They are wearing stickers that are color-coded that goes for the specific tours. They are coordinated once they reach ashore to the respective locations for loading. The port itself has also done an extensive investment in not only the signage for health and safety, but we have the markers that flows; ins and outs – the demarcations to go outside; the demarcation for the doors. It’s just been a phenomenal day. It’s a one ship day, we are used to a one ship days so we know that not everybody is going to be open on these days. It’s one ship and at a lower capacity so it is kind of just getting that restart happening, and start preparing, ironing our kinks out. We kinda get rusty in some of the old protocols so it is about reminding everybody on the new protocols that have come into place. But everybody I have to say, the tenants, the employees, the security. Just the process to get into this port is very rigorous. We have health our here, we have port authority out here. The support has been phenomenal to be able to make today happen.”


Nadira Miles

Nadira Miles, Hairdresser

“It was a hassle; really exciting, at the same time frustrating because dah lotta rules and regulations, but dah fi we own safety. And then we had a meeting with B.T.B. to get us better prepared for out here. We have all of our stuff sanitized; we get hands-on training on how to deal with the customers when they come. Basically, nothing new to us that we didn’t already know, but just to better off everything.”


There was no shortage of adventure. Tourists were guiding to buses or boats that took them for aquatic or jungle tours.


Noriko Gamero

“There is a combination of marine tours and land tours. We worked a lot with NICH in getting their sites gold standard. So Altun Ha, Xunantunich, Nohoch Che’en and Lamanai – so those are all tours that are ongoing today. And then our marine tours, we are doing private islands and we are doing Hol Chan. So we just separate so that we continue with the social distancing, making sure no congestions, families together. You could see everyone’s wearing their masks, staying safe, sanitizing and making today successful.”


Duane Moody 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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