Tuesday, August 11, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: On the heels of news of a slight downturn in overnight tourist arrivals over the first four months of 2015, there is potentially earth-shaking news in the cruise tourism sector.
Carnival Cruise Lines has written the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) announcing 14 cancellations of cruises in the upcoming high season.
The company’s representatives, speaking by email with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), say they are “unhappy and dissatisfied with their experience in Belize,” adding that the tendering process is unfavorable.
While Carnival is reported to also have issues with their service from the Fort Street Tourism Village (FSTV), which is partially owned by a rival, Royal Caribbean Line, the continued lack of a cruise port is a primary issue.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow was asked about it on Sunday. He had met with Carnival earlier this year and says he doesn’t know that anything has changed from that time. He deferred further comment until he had been briefed about the contents of the letter.
But Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) is not waiting – they have renewed their call for a cruise port to be built. The organization wrote a press release today which says in part: quote, “In his New Year’s message, P.M. Barrow had assured Belizeans that his administration, this year, will move forward with a cruise port – a promise welcomed by many Belizeans including COLA.
We appreciate that the matter remains bogged down in court despite the best efforts of the Prime Minister personally to negotiate with all parties, but it remains urgent. COLA once again calls on the government to move forward with the approval for a port facility.
Such a port facility will solve most of the issues Carnival has outlined increasing the number of visitors whom our people interact with.
The Board must also come up with a comprehensive plan and strategy for the cruise tourism sector and tourism generally and implement this to the benefit of all stake holders.
With the coming of larger Oasis-class ships to our shores in 2016, tendering will no longer be a viable transport option, and we thus must act now to save our industry.” End quote.
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