On Wednesday we told you about Independent cruise operators, who received numerous text messages saying that they had been advised by the Captain of their ship to not take any tours because it was too dangerous. This came about after an advisory was sent out by the Regional Security Officer for the United States Embassy; warning US citizens about traveling to Belize City due to a fear of retaliation by gang elements after the killing of four George Street affiliated men. President of FECTAB Tom Greenwood alleged that the Captain was being unfair because the warnings were being given only to those tourists who had booked with independent tour guides; but those who booked through the ships are being allowed to leave freely.
President of FECTAB Tom Greenwood
Among us we got word that the islands in the north are warning their guests not to come to Belize City because of the danger. I can understand that, but that is an internal thing. That's where it's starting to go wrong. Where it's gone terribly wrong in the cruse industry is that we get texts now from our guests on the ship to us on shore, telling us that the captains of the ships are telling the independent guests, those who are not brought on board, not to come ashore because of the danger and because of the warning by the United States Travel Advisory. However, the guests who have bought on board, they're coming ashore whily-nilly
Greenwood had also called on the BTB to intervene in the matter. Plus news has received a copy of a letter which was sent to the cruise ships, leading to massive cancellation to our port of call. The letter says "The Belize Tourism Board would like to ensure its visitor and citizens alike that the safety and security of all local tourism destinations and attractions is of paramount importance...The Belize Tourism Board is satisfied that the rapid response by local law enforcement coupled with the implementation of additional security measures has resulted in the containment of the situation in the affected area thereby safeguarding both residents and visitors. " The release continued to say "Since the incident occurred, the BTB has met periodically with local law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of National Security....We recognize the significance of City Tours, and want to assure you that if the need arises to make further calls, we will advise and act with the best interest of the sustainability and longevity of our Tourism Industry" In closing the letter states "The BTB further advises cruise ship passengers that while we are satisfied that the situation is under control by the Belize Police Department, common sense should prevail. Exercise a practical amount of caution, refrain from making large displays of wealth: avoid venturing into areas that may appear to compromise safety; and familiarize yourself with personal travel safety tips."