Tuesday’s four-way murder of four George Street men and the subsequent U.S. Embassy warning to tourist to not travel in Belize City has negatively effected the Belize tourism industry, Yhonny Rosado, of Cavetubing.com, said Wednesday.
Rosado said the effects of Tuesday’s events will not only affect his business, but all who depend on cruise tourism to make a living.
“The captains on the ships are announcing that if you’re not booked with them, you should not come ashore because the city is not safe,” He said. “About 50% of our tours have been cancelled.”
Rosado explains that they emailed their guests to let them know that it is not the entire city that’s dangerous.
“We are telling them that we can safely go through our tours, and the BTB has sent out messages to us that we should not do any city tours today,” he said.
To compound the dilemma, Carnival Cruise Line, which is one of the major cruise companies, has cancelled a number of its scheduled visits to Belize because of “growing congestion on the tenders”.
A total of nine port calls, scheduled to have arrived up until the end of 2013, and including the Carnival Legend and Carnival Glory liners, have cancelled.
International media reports are that the tender capacity in Belize is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting time ashore.
President of the Federation of Cruise Tourism Associations of Belize (FECTAB) Tom Greenwood said this news could not have come at a worse time and begs for an urgent evaluation of the contracts/agreements with Carnival.
“Once a ship is cancelled, many bookings that have taken place with the regular operators or what we call the independent operators, which are part and parcel of FECTAB, are let down.
“We lose a lot of passengers and therefore a lot of revenue…I’ve seen bookings right into the end of 2013. The time has come for us to say look Carnival, we welcome you…to our shores, but I’m sorry, you’re going to have to do things our way…it’s our way or the highway.”
The Carnival Glory and Legend liners would have brought a projected 28,000 tourists to Belize through their scheduled bookings in 2013.