Cruise ship tourism in the peninsula is meeting more opposition. The Placencia branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association has rejected a proposal by the Belize Tourism Board and Royal Caribbean cruise line. Placencia residents and major investors on October twenty-second vehemently objected to the idea. B.T.I.A. Placencia says cruise tourism will have a negative impact on overnight tourism, which the peninsula prefers to promote and only a choice few would stand to benefit. The B.T.I.A. also feels that further consultations are required and its Vice Chairman, David Vernon, says the two types of tourism cannot survive together.
David Vernon, Vice Chairman, Placencia BTIA
“The overnight tourists, they’re going to come into the community and they are going to eat at the local restaurant, they are going drink at the local bar, they are going to hire the local tour guide to take them out. The cruise people, they pay one price, so why come out and eat. When they come off the ship they are discouraged to eat other than within these cruise villages. So the one important thing that we need to mention here: the wholesalers of the guesthouses, the hotels and the tour operators—all these wholesalers are telling us that they will look somewhere else because the people that want to come to Placencia don’t want to come to destinations where there are cruise ship people. And so rather than helping the economy in Placencia, it will actually take away from the economy of Placencia. As an example, if you’re selling Placencia as a destination that has beautiful beaches, it’s laidback, it’s not the Cancun and then people come here and they see this masses of people walking around—which it looks like a lot of economic benefit is happening, but not really because these people even bring the water off the boat with them.”
Meanwhile, a thirty million-dollar investment project for a new, expanded Port of Big Creek has been reportedly put on hold. That project was envisioned to cater to cruise ship tourism in the area.