Background Threats Outside Placencia Updates You Can Help Links/Resources Contacts
Cruise Tourism Threatens Placencia:
Why and How?

Overnight Tourism:  Mass cruise ship tourism will destroy the hard-won overnight tourism that the Placencia area has so carefully built over the last 20 years. . . (Learn more) 

Environment/Carrying Capacity:  Tourist sites in the south are small - such as Laughing Bird, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Monkey River, and some sites are already at or over capacity. . . (Learn more)

Employment:  Overnight tourism employs significantly more Belizeans than cruise ship tourism, with overnight tourism jobs that range from desk clerks and maids to managers, comptrollers, reservations agents, bookkeepers and accountants. Further, overnight tourism employees are not just from Placencia. Instead, many also come from Independence/Mango Creek, Seine Bight, Riversdale and other locations. . . (Learn more)

Enforcement:  Belize has NO ability to enforce its laws, including laws related to cruise ship tourism, such as the number of tourists per guide, laws against dumping sewage, bilge water and garbage into the Sea, and restrictions on the number of people who can visit a Mayan ruin or national park. We already can't enforce these laws in Belize City much less in southern Belize where enforcement will be even harder than it is in Belize City (if the laws were even enforced there, which they're not).

Planning:  In 2009, Belize borrowed US$13 million from the Inter-American Development Bank to strengthen tourism in 4 destinations, including Placencia.  US$2.4 million of that loan is earmarked for master tourism plans for each destination, including Placencia. . . (Learn more)

Local Control:  Some people argue that cruise ship tourism is ok because we in Placencia can control it. But experience in other areas proves them dead wrong. . . (Learn more)

Mass Tourism:  Proponents of cruise ship tourism in southern Belize argue that boats will be small, with no more than a few hundred passengers.  However, even if southern Belize cruise ship tourism were to start out that way, the national government's track record in containing cruise ship tourism is abysmal.  Belize's 2007 Cruise Ship Tourism Policy limits the number of cruise ship tourists in Belize City to no more than 3,000 per day.  However, 6,000 to 12,000 cruise ship tourists per day now routinely visit Belize City.  . .  (Learn more)

Unfair Competition:  Local business owners simply don't have access to cheap capital that large foreign owned companies do. Even loans on the most favorable, preferred terms in Belize carry an interest rate of 12% - most are much higher, going as high as 28%. (And that's from a commercial bank - Belize has no usury laws.)  Therefore, as experience in Belize City has shown, tour operators will be large, well-financed foreign-owned companies, not local Placencia tour operators.  Local restaurant and gift shop owners will also not be able to compete with large international chains such as Diamonds International that are often owned, operated and financed by the cruise ship companies themselves. 

Social and Cultural Disruption:  As experience in Belize City demonstrates, cruise ship tourism often carries a dark underside that includes sexual exploitation and drugs with which communities such as Placencia, Monkey River, Red Bank and Blue Creek Village are simply unprepared to cope. . . (Learn more)  

Crime:  Large numbers of tourists in a limited number of locations present new markets for thieves, pickpockets, hustlers and other n'er do wells.  Police are provided to local communities by the national government, and resources are already stretched very, very thin - too thin to provide the increased police protection that will be needed by both cruise tourists and local residents alike.  Some communities such as Red Bank, and most tourist destinations in the south, currently have no police presence at all.     

Infrastructure:  As acknowledged by the Inter-American Development Bank, Placencia has "limited supporting infrastructure."  . . . (Learn more)