As Sales Dwindle

Tourism has proven to be one of the greatest income earners for Belize over the years.  Today reporter Marion Ali and cameraman Myles Gillett tried to get a pulse of the people on the ground who depend on cruise tourism to make ends meet.

 

MARION ALI

" The 2013 cruise tourism season started out on shaky footing for the industry coming off the heel of a ten percent plummet of cruse tourism arrivals.  In 2012, it is less than a week pass the Easter holidays and Easter in Belize usually means the beginning of the end of the peak of the cruise tourism season and from the looks of things today with one ship visiting our ports, the horizon looks even  more dismal. Folks who are the first to feel the brink of the pinch are the vendors and service people at the Belize Tourism Village; they have one very common denominator slow or no business."

VENDOR

"We scarecly make to live and pay rent because we have to pay rent, the rent is high."

MARION ALI

"Today you made any sales yet?"

VENDOR

"About one sale.  I don’t know how we are going to do it yet when the slow season comes because two weeks from now we will start the slow season."

VENDOR

"We need more attraction to bring the tourists to this place because it’s a tourist zone.  We need to put it on the internet or whatever to attract people to come here more to see Belize."

MARION ALI

What Kind Of Business Do You Do?

VENDOR

We sell these souvenir different souvenirs of Belize. Well this business has been dropping;  it's not good but yesterday was better but we see that the business is not good, the people don’t have the interest to come and buy any souvenirs.  The tourists do come in slowly, you just have to talk to them and everything but today is a very slow day."

MARION ALI

"You made any sale for today?"

VENDOR

Not yet maybe a little later.

MARION ALI

"So when no sales happens what do you do?"

VENDOR

"Well i just pack up and go in."

VENDOR

"It’s very slow you know very slow but  I hope it changes very soon by the grace of God.".

VENDOR

"This high season feels like an empty season because even the slow season has its benefits but this high season, i can’t imagine what the slow season will look like. i work here with them and from what i am seeing it’s like your begging for crumbs."

MARION ALI

"While the vendors and craftsmen share a common challenge they point to a range of factors that contribute to the economic slump."

VENDOR

"For the whole of today I didn’t do anything."

MARION ALI

"What does that means for you when you go home?"

VENDOR

Rough, I got to face the consequence with my kids; no money is making on the outside.

VENDOR

This is a business card from my boss but on the back it says, 'despite what the pursuer says on the ship it is safe, reliable and much more reasonable on the outside with the locals. Don’t let those people keep you lock in jail; Belize is beyond the fence you have to come on the outside.

VENDOR

"it was sixty of us and now it’s a little of us come when one ship comes because when one ship comes we don’t make anything. Tourist sometimes they don ‘t want to come here and when they do come in here it’s just to see because they tell them on the ship that we are thief all kind of thing they talk about us. "

MARION ALI

"The tourist tells you that? "

VENDOR

The tourist tells us that they tell them inside and on the ship and inside.

MARION ALI

"We met a cruise tourist visiting form Illinois who confirms to us off camera that the passengers were indeed discouraged from touring Belize city; she whoever opted to ignore that caution.

MARION ALI

"What did they tell you on the ship? "
CRUISE TOURIST

"To be careful it’s not safe outside. the further you go into the city the more we need to be cautious."

MARION ALI

But you came out despite that caution why?

CRUISE TOURIST

I could handle myself if anybody touches me it’s no problem and i have protection.

MARION ALI

And since you came out how do you find Belize City how do you find Belize?

CRUISE TOURIST

Its fine the streets are fine i would tell tourist to come into the city and see more.

MARION ALI

More of the city

CRUISE TOURIST

Yeah leave here and come on the other side the south side is no problem.

MARION ALI

One vendor even questioned the integrity of the system that should keep marketing Belize untainted.

VENDOR

When they presented the tourist village to us it was presented to open up marketing opportunity i have realized that they have closed down the market opportunity. there are now ninety percent foreign art in there and ten percent local we don’t have a hand crafting market that building was to be part of a hand market for the Belize locals and vendors the cab drives all these unions and everybody that is out here deserve piece of the pie should have been on the front line i see it today now we have been move from the front line to fight for crumbs. i will tell you what all we need out here custom for all the things that are coming from across the river that nobody has no control of they don’t.

MARION ALI

What is coming from across the river?

VENDOR
all the art you see sell in tourist village people come in the back of taxi and through soccutz and they are bringing them over and over again I have friends that have told me I will have a shop by next year you know what he did he brought one small bag every weekend and save it up at his cousin house by next year he could sell in a his shop.

MARION ALI

So he bring brings it from where?

VENDOR

Guatemala side and the Mexico the same thing to.

MARION ALI

So it’s not local art?

VENDOR

Lone local art I am so mad we are fighting for crumbs. Imagine the crumbs money we the fight for the get takes away with foreign art and fake silver. Where burrow of standards is is this is a control zone mum I am sad this is not a control zone it is out of control.

MARION ALI

One man who seems to be having a good business day giving the Belizeans humidity was the coconut water vendor he told us that survival for him means harvesting twenty thousand coconut trees on his farm to keep the dollars coming in.

Reporting for love news I am Marion ali. 

We tried to reach the Director of Tourism, Laura Esquivel Frampton, who was in meetings all afternoon but promised to meet with us on Friday to respond to the concerns raised.  

LOVEFM