Resistance to Harvest Caye investment by Norwegian Cruise Lines

Harvest Caye 2The primary organizations responsible for promoting Belizean tourism are at odds with each other over the value of cruise tourism in the South. Representatives of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) appeared on LOVE FM this morning to voice their opposition to the proposed Harvest Caye investment by Norwegian Cruise Lines, which is in the final stages of a memorandum of understanding to be signed by the end of this week. BTIA members have publicly opposed the project, claiming that Belize will get less out of the deal than expected and complaining that the South’s attraction to overnight tourists will be lessened by the arrival of cruise shippers. This evening the Ministry of Tourism and Belize Tourism Board (BTB) hit back with a long list of “facts” regarding the proposed project, mostly reiterating that the project, if it goes through, will pay its fair share in revenue and taxes and provide long-standing jobs to Belizeans in the long term. Despite that, the release notes that “the overnight sector continues to be the mainstay of our tourism industry and that cruise tourism is considered incremental business.  We wish to further reiterate that the growth in the cruise tourism sector, has not, in any way, impaired the growth or performance of the overnight tourism sector.” It calls on the BTIA to “be respectful of the many tourism stakeholders who currently earn an honest livelihood from the cruise tourism sector…” and  “to refrain from any further use of exploitative and derogative paraphernalia and campaign messages that are not consistent with its stated vision, mission and guiding principles,” noting that the BTIA has not signed on to the Tourism Master Plan, the only organization not to do so.

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