Carnival Corp. confirms cruise port

Well it's official...the world's
biggest cruise line is setting up
shop in Belize... for a long, long
time. This afternoon, officials
from Carnival Corporation in
Miami officially confirmed to
News 5 that the company has
reached an agreement with
Belize Ports Limited to construct a new cruise
terminal facility at the port...a deal which would see
many more Carnival cruise ships calling on Belize for
a projected period of at least twenty-five years.
According to Carnival's spokesperson, Jennifer De
La Cruz, motivation for the investment came from
what she calls, a positive experience in Belize and
the chance to do away with the hassle of tendering
passengers from ship to shore.

Jennifer De La Cruz, Spokesperson, Carnival (Via
Phone)
"We always prefer to dock. Docking enables us to stay
longer in port. It has a positive impact on the number
of
guests that will get off the ship, that will spend money
in
port, and it also makes it much easier for the crew to
get off
ships and also spend money in port. Obviously, it's
operationally advantageous for us, so we would really
like to
have a facility in Belize, because we are very committed
to
bringing our ships there long term."

Janelle Chanona
"And you guys will be contributing how much of the
cost of the project?"

Jennifer De La Cruz
"The cost of the project will be shared by the project
partners, which are Carnival Corp. and Belize Ports
Limited."

Janelle Chanona
"Those are the only two partners involved?

Jennifer De La Cruz
"Those are the two partners that I am aware of that are
involved in this specific project. I believe that Belize
Ports
Limited, while I can't speak on their behalf, may be
looking
at other investors to participate in port development
generally."

"It would be best if you confirmed that with them, but
in
terms of this specific port development project that
we're
talking about, this cruise ship facility that would be
able to
accommodate two vessels and would include an adjacent
welcome centre, and a transportation hub, that project
specifically involves Carnival Corp and Belize Ports
Limited."

Janelle Chanona
"Jennifer, are you aware that Royal Caribbean Limited
has recently signed an agreement with the Tourism
Village here to buy out the facility and make a
long-term investment as well. This is a fierce rival of
your company's right?"

Jennifer De La Cruz
"I'm not familiar with it, but that's not to say that
other folks
here at Carnival at a higher level, who are negotiating
with
the folks in Belize, are, they may very well be aware of
it. In
fact they probably are."

But whether the Government is aware of all that is
going on is still unclear. Attempts to reach Minister
of Tourism Mark Espat failed again as we were
informed that he was unavailable for comment
today. However, News 5 was made to understand
that much of the information about this major deal
has not been shared with tourism officials, including
the minister himself.