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#402600 - 03/17/11 05:43 PM Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize
Marty Online   happy
from a friend....

The long awaited report on this issue has now been made public, and is to be the subject of a public consultation in Placencia next Monday (followed by further consultations in PG and Dangriga.

The report comes out pretty strongly against using Placencia as a second Cruise ship port in Southern Belize. The widespread public resistance to the idea has I think been made abundantly clear.

for anyone who wants to read it you can find it at http://www.belizetourism.org/content/view/280/370/

I guess the big question now is whether BTB/Min of Tourism will accept the report.

If they do, then what?
If they don't, same question.

The report has also been put on the nocruises.org Website because the BTB site is so slow – www.nocruises.org

Edited by Marty (03/18/11 10:09 AM)

#402636 - 03/18/11 09:31 AM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Report about proposed Cruise Facility says NO to new port in Placencia

The report on cruise ship tourism in the south is in. Last October the Belize Tourism Board held public consultations with residents of Placencia, Dangriga and Punta Gorda to discuss the introduction of cruise tourism to Southern Belize. From the get go, the opposition was strong, in particular among the Placencia based businesses and environmental organizations including the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) to the project proposal submitted jointly by real estate developer Shabir Walji and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to the Government of Belize. The sixty-two page report on the viability of cruise ship tourism conducted by Seatone Consultants is glaring and emphatically states that “Belize should not approve a new port of call, contract or agreement with cruise lines, developers or their affiliates for operations in the Placencia Peninsula. Not only is there widespread resistance to the establishment of cruise tourism in Placencia, as demonstrated by public sentiment, there is also abundant and compelling evidence that communities in the surrounding area are ill prepared for cruise ship arrivals. Moreover,…the Belize City model, for many, still represents a poor precedent for effective management and control of the cruise sector. Expansion of cruise tourism to fragile areas such as the Placencia Peninsula is therefore highly problematic, risky and may result in irreversible negative impacts to the existing tourism sector, the ridge to reef resources of the south, and the safety and security of local communities.” The report clearly supports the resistance held by Placencia residents, business owners and environmental groups. But there’s surely to be more discussion on the proposed cruise terminal.

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#402642 - 03/18/11 09:45 AM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
From a friend....

On your question of: If they don’t, then what? How about stop wasting tax payers money on studying other types of (cruise) tourism and see how we can fix and fine tune the one we have – overnight tourism. That would be a good place to start – then go from there.

I would really like to see BTB seriously address some of these issues (below) and then they will regain some trust and respect from me (a taxpayer):

Such measures could include, although are not limited to:

1. Reducing the cost of capital to local businesses.
2. Initiating a micro-loan program for small entrepreneurs of the peninsula to participate in the economic benefits of overnight tourism.
3. Setting up a program to provide licensed tour operators and guides access to discounted fuel.
4. Temporarily lower the hotel tax to allow hotels to offer lower rates and become more competitive in the region.
5. Reduce General Sales Tax, even if it is temporarily.
6. Reducing the cost of internet and phone communications so all residents may better compete globally for both business and educational opportunities.
7. Reduce communication costs by unblocking VOIP so that businesses, particularly small, locally owned businesses, can afford fundamental and essential business practices, such as being able to return an international phone call to answer questions about their businesses.
8. Establish improved marketing efforts to address the problem of acute seasonality of business and to promote Placencia as a prime destination for local tourism.

These are factors that have plenty of tourism related businesses closing their doors and plenty of Tour Guides out of jobs.

Government’s move on this matter now will be extremely critical in the future of Belize and the future development of Tourism in Belize – their decisions here on can either rebuild the trust and working relationship with the people of the South or send it into a perpetual spin on the event horizon where nothing will get done and no one, especially us on the ‘ground’, will benefit.

I pray that GOB starts listening and working with the people it represents.

Charles Leslie Jr.
Placencia Village

#402644 - 03/18/11 10:09 AM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
from a friend....

In a nutshell, a tough cohune-type nutshell, it appears to be saying: gob had better quietly sit down with non-gob local players and respect their wishes and positions or else?

#402645 - 03/18/11 10:11 AM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
response from another pal....

Maybe. I think it says more – I think it says that people down here believe that analyses and planning need to be done before embarking on projects as radical as cruise ship tourism for an area that has always focused on eco-tourism – and that government needs to listen to them when doing that analyses and planning. I also think it says that people want and need more jobs, but they also value our natural resources and history, understand that those things are important to them – and to the people who visit south Belize – so people in southern Belize are not willing to see their natural environment destroyed for just a buck.

#402652 - 03/18/11 11:42 AM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
On a positive note, the whale shark regulations were acknowledged many times in the 59 page report as a model we should aspire to and apply to all our sites. My hats off to Dr Rachel Graham and all the NGO's, tour operators and tour guides who formulated and follow the rules. Hol Chan was also mentioned for the same and again, kudos to all those involved from inception to present. We can do things right.
Belize based travel specialist

#402723 - 03/19/11 12:25 PM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Placencia B.T.I.A. applauds report that says NO to port on the peninsula

We told you on Thursday night that the report has been completed on the controversial issue of cruise ship tourism for southern Belize, specifically the Placencia Peninsula. In a nutshell, the consultants recommend that Belize should not approve a new port of call due to the environmental impact and because southern communities are not ready to take on mass tourism. Government hasn’t yet spoken on the just released consultancy report, but the Placencia B.T.I.A. is applauding the recommendations. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The idea of introducing cruise tourism to the coastal village of Placencia was a plan that was met with a great degree of opposition from its inception. The Belize Tourism Board in October of last year held a public consultation with residents of the area whose sentiments were resounding in their objection to the proposal. Following that meeting B.T.B. hired Rich Wilson of Seatone Consultants to assess the viability of cruise tourism in Southern Belize. The findings, which are published on B.T.B.’s website, reflect the views of stakeholders in the south. Chairman of the Placencia chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Stewart Krohn quoted from the report and says that the results are accurate.

Stewart Krohn

Stewart Krohn, Chairman, B.T.I.A.-Placencia

“There is widespread skepticism and resistance to development of a mass tourism cruise model in southern Belize. That’s one of his key findings. Some of his other key findings are that there are great concerns about the potential environmental damage. There are key findings about [the fact] that cruise tourism would have a definite negative effect on the existing overnight tourism. There are questions about the infrastructure. I mean he has given it a very thorough airing and I think the conclusion he’s come to is that even people who were somewhat disposed towards even very small cruise ships in Placencia even they had very serious doubts about what the impact might be.”

According to Krohn, government should take into serious consideration the findings of the assessment and focus its attention on looking for other means of tourism for the south.

Stewart Krohn

“I think the main point now is really to, with the publishing of this report and hopefully a decision by the government that cruise tourism is really not a good fit for Placencia and we need to explore other alternatives. I think the important thing to note is where we go from here and as you were aware, you spent time in Placencia; you were at the public consultation. There was a very, it was a very controversial issue and the village was somewhat divided if not specifically on the cruise tourism proposal at least the controversy opened certain differences among members of the community.”

Many, including Krohn, believe that the issue has left a bitter taste in the mouths of Placencia residents.

Stewart Krohn

“The controversy also tended to make many of us in the tourism sector very skeptical of Belize Tourism Board, of the tourism ministry and even the government of Belize in general as we thought that they didn’t really deal with us on a straight up basis. But I think the important thing now is to move forward. We have to engage with our own people in the village to put aside our differences and become unified to chart a course that we want to see for the future of the peninsula.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

This afternoon, a joint statement was issued by the Placencia Village Council, it’s Tour Guide and Tour Operator Associations as well as the B.T.I.A., saying it is now the umbrella organization, which will take a proactive and comprehensive approach to the future of tourism and infrastructural development in the peninsula.

#402724 - 03/19/11 12:26 PM Re: Report on Cruise ship tourism in Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy


The Placencia Village Council, Placencia Tour Guide Association, Placencia Tour Operators Association and Placencia Chapter Belize Tourism Industry Association issued a joint statement once again rejecting the proposal for a cruise port in the Village. The statement says the concept of a “Tourism Village” within Placencia village is inconsistent with their vision of how tourism should be developed in the community. According to the group there are serious questions about the environmental impact of cruise tourism that have not been adequately addressed, as well recent events in the cruise sector in Belize City create considerable doubt as to issues of management and local control of the industry as well as the motivation and behavior of various cruise lines now operating in Belize. Additionally, the less than transparent way in which the Placencia proposal was presented created a climate of public distrust which prevented a rational dialogue within the village and surrounding areas. The release ends by saying one positive result of the controversy created over the issue is that an umbrella group, made up of representatives of the above mentioned associations, has been formed which will take a proactive and comprehensive approach to the Placencia Peninsula’s future tourism and infrastructural development. This group says it is willing to sit down and discuss with the Government of Belize on future development of the peninsula.



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