In April we told you about meetings to discuss the interest Norwegian Cruise Lines has in building a Cruise Port on Crawl Caye in Southern Belize. At the time, the Ministerial Chair of a Cabinet Investment Committee Godwin Hulse told us talks were very preliminary and while a Memorandum of Understanding existed it was not on the table. That was a six weeks ago, but in the past few days, the buzz and the blowback over the project has ramped up exponentially, fuelled by reports that Cabinet will decide on the Memorandum of Understanding as early as next week!
That sense of urgency has unleashed an aggressive anti-port information campaign, and a letter writing initiative, all designed to torpedo the project.
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has also lent its voice to the campaign. The influential industry group issued a statement saying, quote, The BTIA stands firmly against this proposed establishment in Southern Belize, and adds that “ By opening the Southern portion of the country to large scale cruise ship visitation, the proposal fundamentally contradicts the country's tourism master plan and irrevocably positions Belize as a mass tourism destination. This 180 degree shift from Belize's identity as an authentic ecocultural destination is inexplicable in view of the uninterrupted success of Belize's dynamic overnight tourism sector.” The release also notes that
“the establishment of a large cruise port in southern Belize would eventually draw ships away from Belize City causing a significant loss on…investments being done today, as well as…a…loss of income and jobs to those tour operators, guides, tender owners, bus drivers, taxis, craft sellers and other service providers…”
It closes by urging
“Cabinet and the Minister of Tourism to reject the proposed project outright and immediately.”