Dear Placencia BTIA Members:
The following is a copy of the letter we sent to Cabinet today.
At a special meeting called this morning (Wednesday, May 29), the board of directors of the Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), passed a unanimous resolution calling on Cabinet to reject a proposal by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to establish a major cruise port at Crawl Caye. The 50 acre island, largely covered by mangrove, sits within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is located six miles east of the Placencia Peninsula.
For the past two weeks, the Placencia BTIA has been soliciting its members for their opinions on the proposal and have received an overwhelming response in opposition to the mass tourism project. The Placencia BTIA Board and its concerned members have highlighted the following points for Cabinet’s consideration:
1. The NCL project does not fall within the Government’s recently approved Tourism Master Plan, which specifically limits southern Belize to “pocket” cruising in ships of under 250 passengers..
2. The independent study commissioned by the BTB in 2011 clearly and emphatically advises against the introduction of cruise tourism to southern Belize.
3. The establishment of a cruise port within a marine protected area and a World Heritage Site makes a mockery of Belize’s reputation as a nation that protects its environment.
4. The NCL project, by moving ships to the new southern port, greatly threatens the sustainability of the cruise ship industry in Belize City and the livelihood of those who have invested and work there.
5. The NCL project, by turning southern Belize into a mass tourism destination, directly threatens the health of the area’s well established overnight tourism industry which is based on authenticity and an “off the beaten track” experience.
We trust that Cabinet will consider the overwhelming arguments against allowing the project to go forward and will immediately cease further consideration of the NCL proposal.
On behalf of the board of directors:
Stewart Krohn, Chairman
Steve Christensen, Vice-Chairman
Doran Yount, Secretary
David Vernon, Treasurer
Evan Hall, Councilor
Salvador Zabaneh, Councilor
Ilsa Villanueva, Councilor