Last week we told you about a minimal dip in the tourist arrival as it pertains to cruise tourism in Belize. Without a doubt the drop is cause of concern for those involved in the tourism industry. This morning while at a handing over ceremony in Belize City which we will tell you about later in our newscast, the media had the opportunity to speak with the Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia on the matter. Heredia was asked if Belize’s alarming crime rate has impacted the tourism figures and his response was that he does not think so and we should feel lucky not to be directly affected since maintaining the figures is in itself a triumph.

manelMANUEL HEREDIA JR – Tourism Minister

“When it comes to crime we are very fortunate and lucky that it has not recently been very minimal when it comes to the tourism industry so we are very lucky and hence the reason for trying to support them to make sure that no tourist is hurt or no tourist is assaulted because that can really hurt the industry at this point we are fortunate and we will continue doing our best to make sure we can equip our police officers and to make sure they do whatever they can like the voluntary police, we have neighborhood watches that we are doing across the country to make sure that this beautiful of jewel remain a such in the years to come.”

And while crime is one point to look at, the Tourism Industry particularly on Ambergris Caye, is drastically being affected by what seems to be a never ending blanket of Sargassum that has plagued the islands beaches. The unsightly Sargassum lets off a putrid stench becoming a turnoff for tourist who visit the island for its white beaches.

And with the Sargassum phenomenon not clearing up anytime soon, Heredia says his Ministry is looking at alternative options for beaches to satiate our visitors who clamor for a slice of the beach.

MANUEL HEREDIA JR – Tourism Minister

“If I am not mistaken the overall from January to July it was .08% difference between one year and the other so I believe that though there are little fastness one that I could say that I mentioned that privately ago that the Sargasso is a minimal I cannot say that and that is a minimal art of that one our beaches for almost two years has been practically 25 to 30 feet wide in the entire beaches of Belize with that Sargasso and that is nature government on its part has been trying to whatever equipment they want to get use the exemption to be able to assist the hotelier to make sure they can have their beaches as clean as possible, I know for a fact that Mata Chica has gotten an equipment in the value of US$30,000 that in less than an hour hey will have their beaches clean, Grand Caribe also has something like a turbine that they have bought and according to the owner within an hour they get rid of the Sargasso hopefully we will find the right solution to be able to deal with this natural phenomenon but at the same time there is the west part of the island that I can see the potential to be able to create the beach as beautiful as the front beach and so we are looking to different alternatives if something happens in the front we have the western part.”

Heredia says the San Pedro Town Council who is responsible for maintenance of the Towns Beaches, rake and dispose of the Sargasso on the Westside of the island on a daily basis. The local media on the island has reported that the Sargasso issue has never been this bad.

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