Friday, January 14, 2011



Cruise ships ( floating hotels ) do not really bring revenues to the country the visit. If you add the cost of the extra tourist police to create a safe environment for tourists, damage to roads and ecological sites not set up to handle the quantity of people, garbage they produce like by serving 1000 of lunches a day in styrofoam containers in the places they eat, deforestation of the country as more locals jump on the cruise ship bandwagon, beach renourishment and cleanup, damage to roads to provide services to them in capacities the roads are not made for etc. They only ones who end up making money are the cruise ship themselves as most tours/goods etc are presold on board the ship to the benefit of their own pockets. I say charge the cruise ships a high per visitor user fee like Alaska to control the amount of raping of the country by them and to cover the cost of the damage they create. They also famously dump their garbage once outside territorial limits (Royal Caribbean has been fined for this at least twice) which then floats back to our shores and we need to deal with it. Belize needs to look out for Belize and promote other types of tourism where more of the benefit stays local. In this case not much does.

On another note, Belize needs encourage competition to service Belize with airlines. Why would someone go to Belize when the average cost of a ticket to Cancun, Guatemala, honduras, Nicargagua, Costa Rica is roughly $300-$500 US vs Belize which is in the $600-1500 US range. For the same cost one can either go half way across the world or visit one or two of the cheaper regional places instead. Many airlines to Belize have a monopoly in the markets they serve. Houston to Belize (Co), Mia to Bze (AA), Atlanta to Belize (Delta). The country needs to encourage competing airlines to fly to Belize. As the fares also are hurting tourism.

Sharon Urscheler


Belize Culture Listserve contribution:

Transformational Economics, indicates that the government should be nationalizing parts of Deep River shoreline and building a berth dock for cruise ships. There are ruins, caves, waterfalls and native Mayan village culture to offer for day trips.

While they were planning to do this, I would import on a two year teaching assignment, a couple of hula teachers from Solomon Islands, perhaps with Australia funding part of the cost of the airfare. These Solomon islanders not only know how to hula well, they also know how to make crafts such as baskets and hats and cheap quickly sold stuff to tourists made out of coconut leaves. It should be possible to combine both talents within one teacher from the Solomon Islands. They also have musicians that play village music using a unique instrument made out of different lengths of bamboo. They play the hollow ends with open rubber Chinese sandals they use, by flapping the end. It is a complete rythm section and unique culture band.
Add a three piece steel band down in Toledo District to welcome cruise ships ashore to a TOURIST VILLAGE and you have a unique winner, out of the ordinary. A MUST SEE STOP for cruise ship tourism.

If the country is taking in a $100 million a year from cruise ships, then it stands to reason that the whole cruise ship industry is a tourist cruise business owned by and for the government and actually all the private sector are making is tender shuttle fees to shore and tour van bus trips to ruins and sights. A few hairbraiders, the odd taxi and some knick knack stalls seems to be the rest of the private sector participation. Since the government is making money off the cruise ships, more than the private sector, it is logical to assume that the DFC financing the new tender shuttle corporation is a correct step. The government is actually the one making the money from this segment of tourism in this niche field. They the government should invest in the business. It is basically a government business.

The growth aspects of the cruise ship business, replacing international jet flights ( the taxes are making Belize airline flights too expensive in comparison with the rest of the Americas - a hidden surcharge on tickets in Belize going to who knows who? ), means Belize City just cannot take anymore. The port is already maxed out. Time for TRANSFORMATIONAL ECONOMICS and time for the government to invest in DEEP RIVER and TOLEDO DISTRICT if they want to keep money coming in from the cruise ship business. Start fresh in raw territory and go for it, build a new cruise ship port.

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