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#17390 - 11/18/03 05:27 PM Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Marty Offline
There were murmurs of discord
last week, but predictions are
that come Wednesday the
situation at the Tourism Village
will be chaos, as Belize's largest
cruise tour operator squabbles
with its two largest suppliers of
transportation. The players tried
to sort it out in front of the press this afternoon, to

little avail.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
They sat side by side at this afternoon's press
conference, but there is no love lost between these
warring factions of the cruise ship industry: the
Novelo's Bus Company, Tour Tran, and Cruise
Solutions.

Tom Greenwood, Pres., Belize Cruise Ship Industry
Assn.
"This is no longer a matter behind closed doors."

President of the Belize Cruise Ship Industry
Association, Tom Greenwood, set the stage for the
discussion by outlining a slew of problems, including
insufficient guides accompanying tourists that
threaten to disrupt the main cruise season which is
just getting ready to start.

Tom Greenwood
"On Wednesday coming up here we have four large cruise
ships in harbour. All four are represented by Cruise
Solutions, approximately about nine thousand people.
And I
would like to think that somewhere around the region of
at
least five or six thousand will come ashore to do
something
or the other."

But the problem, Greenwood fears, is that there will
not be enough busses to take these visitors to their
destinations. Tour Tran, which currently provides
buses to tour operators, only has thirty-five
air-conditioned busses at its disposal. How the
shortfall will be met is not yet known, but the other
company that can provide the busses says its hands
are tied, thanks to the machinations of the biggest
tour operator, Cruise Solutions and its boss, David
Gegg.

David Novelo, C.E.O., Novelo's Bus Company
"Due to the fact that legal proceedings are still
pending with
Cruise Solutions, Novelo's cannot legally provide
Cruise
Solutions with buses, even though we have in excess of
a
hundred air conditioned busses. There is where the
problem
lies for the whole cruise ship industry and ultimately
Belize.
Cruise Solutions requires at least eighty busses to
service
for ships at a time as will be the case again this
week, as it
was the case last week that Cruise Solutions was unable
to
cater for that amount of busses."

Gegg was absent from this afternoon's emergency
press conference, but his chief of operations Kelvin
Ramnarace, told the room full of industry officials and

media that Cruise Solutions is willing to work with
Novelo's to bridge the gap.

Kelvin Ramnarace, Operations Manager Tour Tran
"This is what I have been instructed to pass on to you.
This
is after receipt of Mr. Greenwood's invitation to this
press
conference. He says: Dear Mr Greenwood, I do not feel
that
a press conference is the appropriate forum for
resolving
the issue, which your letter of November seventeenth,
2003, seeks to address. Meetings between the parties
seem more appropriate and I have initiated these. For
the
record, my company has offered to prepay the Novelo's
for
the use of additional busses. And this could amount to
thirty-five thousand to fifty thousand dollars per week
in
incremental cash flows for Novelo's."

But even with the monetary offer, Novelo's is not
budging. Chief Executive Officer of the company,
David Novelo, says money is not the problem.

David Novelo
"The reality is that our conversation with Cruise
Solutions'
David Gegg has been futile. We have met, it's been a
grip
lock in terms of himself still not honouring
exclusivity, and
we would welcome the intervention of the government
authorities and the powers that may be because its not
just
a matter of collecting a prepayment. In terms, it's a
matter
of the exclusivity basis and the way the financial
aspect
where these acquisitions of these equipment came was
based upon the consideration of that exclusivity basis.
So
what is at question here is relatively to say is our
company
is left with different options."

Adam McKewan, General Manager, Tour Trans
"Tour trans employees and investors appreciate that Mr.

David Gegg of Cruise Solutions confirmed this week that
the
exclusive contract for motor coach transportation
between
Cruise Solutions and our company Tour Tran will not be
broken for the remaining six years. Tour Tran is one
hundred percent dependent on the contract with Cruise
Solution. This was in fact the reason and the only
reason
that we made an investment in Belize."

McKewan says Cruise Solutions awarded them the
contract to transport cruise passengers knowing fully
that they only had thirty-five busses at their disposal

and that any shortfall is not theirs to fill. Novelo
says
that as late as Friday afternoon he had meetings with
my Gegg to try to resolve the dispute but to no avail
and the result was this afternoon's appearance
alongside McKewan to put the issue n the court of
public opinion. Ramnarace, without going into
specifics, says he is confident that things will be
worked out and that no tourist will be stranded on
Wednesday.

Patrick Jones
"The people leave here today believing, and certainly
I am leaving, believing that your company is
two-timing everybody in this. You talk out of one side
of your mouth to Mr. Novelo and out of the next side
to the other company."

Kelvin Ramnarace
Well you would probably not have been listening, there
are
two sides to every story and we have our side. We have
our
reason why we terminated that contract as well. Both of
us
are claiming breach of contract and for our own reason
and
business must go on. And it had proceeded with Tour
Tran."

Patrick Jones
"But if thousands of people are left stranded on
Wednesday it's not just your company that will look
bad, it's all Belize."

Kelvin Ramnarace
"Well we are making every plan to make sure that does
not
happen."

Patrick Jones for News 5.

If the situation sounds confusing, don't worry, it is.
In
related news, B.C.I.A. President Tom Greenwood told
the press that the tourism village has in fact been
sold,
and is now owned by a consortium made up of Royal
Caribbean Cruise Lines and duty free jewellery giant,
Diamonds International.

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#17391 - 11/19/03 06:24 AM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
patrick-e Offline
In my opinion, too many cruise ships will have an adverse affect on the quality of tourism in Belize. Just like that hords of tourist that swarm over Cozumel during the last couple of years. Just my honest opinion.

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#17392 - 11/19/03 04:34 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Mel S Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by patrick-e:
In my opinion, too many cruise ships will have an adverse affect on the quality of tourism in Belize. Just like that hords of tourist that swarm over Cozumel during the last couple of years. Just my honest opinion.
I agree with you patrick-e. We knew the tourism would be increased in the future, but man, they really took a big bite at one time. Will there there be any buses left for the Belizeans to use cheap transportation ? Of course this is just my own feelings on it.
_________________________
Mel Sinderman

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#17393 - 11/21/03 06:56 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
sarahsmile Offline
Yeah, how does this bus thing affect the non-tourist travelers' commute? eek

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#17394 - 11/21/03 09:29 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Mel S Offline
Quote:
Originally posted by sarahsmile:
Yeah, how does this bus thing affect the non-tourist travelers' commute? eek
Hello Sarah, My concerns with the buses that the Companies will take all their buses and use them to take care of the cruiser dudes when the ships are in. If they see dollar signs, they will pull regular routes in a snap for extra dinero. Hopefully there will be enough buses for all. I would like to say hello to you, as we have several things in common. I know you are a nurse, I am a respiratory Therapist. we had the oppurtunities of working in Central america for six years. we just loved it. We may go back again in the future. Best-Wishes, Mel S....
_________________________
Mel Sinderman

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#17395 - 11/24/03 05:34 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Debbie Offline
NINE THOUSAND PEOPLE?????!!!!!! eek Can the sensitive tourist destinations absorb all that in addition to the tourists who stay at resorts in Belize?????? I see "bumper to bumper traffic" at Shark Ray Alley...... frown

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#17396 - 11/24/03 05:46 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
chismera Offline
But you wno't see any sharks!

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#17397 - 11/24/03 09:52 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Barbara K Offline
Can the sensitive tourist destinations absorb all that in addition to the tourists who stay at resorts in Belize??????

NO they can't....
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#17398 - 11/26/03 03:54 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Gaz Cooper Offline
Forget Shark Ray Alley on many occasions I have sent my people there only to see people NO SHARKS the reason for this is

1.) There are only about 20-25 sharks when that is spread about 20 boats it is no longer the experience that made it as famous as it is.

2.) When you have that many boats all feeding the sharks, they become full very quickly and are no longer interested in hanging around when they have eaten there fill.

With a documented 56,000 visitors to Hol chan and SRA this year and with the HUGE increase in Cruise ship traffic scheduled for next year (1 Million cruise ship visitors expected for 2004) how will that 56,000 visitors increase ? even with a 5% taking the excursion that means that number will jump form 56,000 to 106,000 people.

That is a HUGE impact on such a small area and I fear the worst for SRA and Hol Chan in the coming years.

I have suggested to Hol Chan to make Mexico Rocks area a New Marine Reserve so that the people and visitors of San Pedro can have a place that can be just as good as Hol chan and at the same time eleviate some of the pressure off Hol Chan by focusing on the development of this area.

Mexico Rocks could be another Hol Chan very easily if it were protected, I used to have some HUGE grouper that were very tame just like the ones at Hol Chan and my students loved the experience as they would come right up to you, unfortunaltey because the area is not protected they came and fished them out one by line the others by speargun which was no sport as these would come right up to you.

There are still groupers in the area and tons of smaller fish we even had a tame Eagle ray once however I do not attempt to bring them in anymore and they remain wary of man which is a good thing until the area is protected.

IMHO Hol Chan is doomed if it is the only area promoted as a marine reserve for cruise ship traffic, those types of numbers will ineviatbly be detrimental to the area.

Gaz Cooper
_________________________






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#17399 - 11/26/03 04:43 PM Re: Discord in cruise industry threatens chaos
Chloe Offline
AMEN Gaz.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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