The much talked about Harvest Caye Cruise Shipping Port was officially opened today as it welcomed the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship as the first vessel to call to its port. The media was not invited to witness its first cruise call but the Belize Tourism Board did issue a press release in which it stated that an estimated two thousand guests were there to witness the inauguration and to get a first-hand look at the activities available on the island as well as the tours being offered. An official ribbon cutting ceremony took place that saw Special Envoy for Women and Children, Kim Simplis-Barrow along with Tourism Minister, Manuel Heredia Jr., Transport Minister, Edmond Castro and Colin Murphy, the Senior Vice President for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited opening the port. In an address by Minister Heredia, he noted, quote, “Today is the product of the government’s continued pledge to entrench tourism as a top national priority and to promote tourism as a main engine for overall economic growth of the country. This investment alone is projected to generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs by the year 2020.” We have embarked on an unprecedented and incomparable journey. The growth in cruise tourism over the past 20 years proves that Belize is a destination of choice for those seeking adventure, a host of natural wonders, and most importantly friendly and hospitable people.” End of quote. Meanwhile President and CEO for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Limited, Frank del Rio told the guests that Harvest Caye is truly the ultimate Belizean experience and they are delighted to welcome their first guests today. Tomorrow we will have more on today’s grand opening.