Earlier this month news came out of Royal Caribbean was considering building a new cruise port in the country of Belize near the village of Placencia. Belize government officials confirmed last week that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines wants to build a “tourism village” and the debate among locals is heating up over if it's a good idea or not.
The Belize Ministry of Tourism chief executive Mike Singh indicated that Royal Caribbean plans to build a facility on the southern point of the peninsula as “a welcome center for tendered cruise passengers.”
Once word of the plans came out, locals have voiced their opinions and often, their anger over the plan. Many do not want cruise ships to stop in their village for fears of environmental damage, lack of infrastructure to support the tourists, and revenue from the cruises not impacting locals. In just a blog entry on this site earlier, over 30 comments were generated mostly by locals who were against the plans.
"Placencia Village is way to small to receive passengers from cruise ships."
"Revenues from this will go to a very select few, not Placencia. Tour companies and the terminal will be owned by people who are already rich!"
"Stay away from Placencia! We have no sewage system, no hospital, no fire department, few police, one doctor, one nurse, maybe not enough water (we don't know) - we simply can't handle cruise ship passengers."
"Placencia won't be Placiencia anymore if mass tourismus comes there."
Opening a cruise port in Placencia can be good and bad. On the plus side, the town gets worldwide exposure, additional revenue from tourists into the local economy and more home buyers from those looking for a vacation home. On the down side, critics argue cruise ships simply bring day-trippers who don’t spend money and leave environmental damage in their wake.
There is also a report that this plan for Placencia is merely a negotiating tactic by Royal Caribbean to try to get a better deal. Royal Caribbean is reportedly in a dispute over plans to build a second terminal in Belize City.