|High Praises for Belize Maritime Policies|
( 0 Votes )
|Written by Shane D. Williams|
|Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:00|
|High Praises for Belize Maritime Policies|
( 0 Votes )
|Written by Shane D. Williams|
|Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:00|
10:11 a.m. CST, January 26, 2012
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron gave his support to the idea of a free trade deal between the European Union and the U.S. on Thursday, suggesting that a trans-Atlantic pact could deliver a much-needed boost to global commerce.
His call for a bilateral deal with Washington follows similar comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, and comes amid widespread admission among global leaders that the so-called Doha round of free trade talks is dead.
"Let's get free trade agreements with India, Canada and Singapore finalized by the end of the year," Cameron said, according to an advance copy of a speech he planned to deliver to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Global leaders meeting in the Alpine ski resort have traditionally repeated the mantra that the Doha round, launched in Qatar's capital in 2001, is the best way to promote world trade.
"Last year, at this very forum, world leaders called for an all-out effort to conclude the Doha round in 2011," said Cameron. "We said it was the make-or-break year. It was. And we have to be frank about it. It didn't work.
Britain's prime minister cited bilateral trade deals the EU is exploring with India, Canada and Singapore, saying they could add €90 billion (116.5 billion) to the bloc's economies.
"Let's also look at options for agreement between the EU and the US, where a deal could have a bigger impact than all of the other agreements put together," he said.
Trade experts immediately poured cold water on the idea of a trans-Atlantic trade deal.
"Running around looking for palliatives in the light of the death of Doha is governance of the headless-chicken variety," said Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor of International Political Economy at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Former EU trade chief Peter Mandelson said the proposal was understandable given the lack of progress on Doha, but called it "optimistic" in the light of the enormous hurdles that would have to be overcome.
"It would have to focus not on tariffs but on very many non-tariff barriers, technical specifications, differences in regulation," Mandelson told The Associated Press. "They are the hardest things to agree and those two negotiating partners are the hardest two to find agreement."
The head of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy said some differences between Washington and Brussels would be difficult to bridge.
"Agriculture? Good luck," he told reporters in Davos. Lamy noted that both the U.S. and the EU have been fruitlessly negotiating bilateral deals with other trade blocs for decades. "I don't think that bilateralism will be the major formula for success," he said.
Still, Cameron's words echoed those of Germany's Merkel a day earlier. In her keynote speech at the forum's official opening Wednesday, she told political and business leaders that there was much room for greater trans-Atlantic trade.
"The European Union and the United States are each other's most important trading partners with a trade volume of over €600 billion ($776.5 billion) and the potential of our cooperation has not yet been tapped," she said.
Any move to forge a bilateral deal between the two trading powers would be sure to anger smaller countries, who have demanded an 'all or none' approach to global trade.
It could also be viewed as a signal that the World Trade Organization, where the Doha round has been negotiated over the past 11 years, is becoming irrelevant.
"The proposed EU-USA FTA could be the death of the WTO. It would be seen as the really rich ganging up and perpetuating discrimination against the emerging and developing countries, thus widening the already far too wide chasm between North and South," said Lehmann.
Panama Canal expansion strike called off
Thousands of workers on a project to expand the Panama Canal have agreed to end a strike that had paralysed construction for a week.
The stoppage was called off after the consortium in charge of the works agreed to increase the minimum wage.
The $5.25bn (£3.4bn) project to widen the Panama Canal and double its capacity is due to be complete in 2014.
The waterway linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans already handles around 5% of world trade.
The multinational consortium Grupos Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) said workers had accepted a 13% increase to the minimum wage and would go back to work on Monday.
Union leaders said their members had accepted the deal, which increases the minimum hourly wage from $2.90 to $3.34.
The company had already agreed to give back pay for overtime and Sundays.
The Panama Canal expansion project involves building a third set of locks and the widening of navigation channels so that some of the world's biggest ships can pass through.
The project is due for completion in 2014 - a century after the canal was first opened by the US.
Panama has been running the 82km (51 mile) waterway since 1999, when the US handed over control.
The canal is Panama's main source of revenue, and the government says its expansion will give a major boost to economic growth.
Speaking at the Opening Plenary of the 7th UK-Caribbean Forum held in St. Georges, Grenada over the weekend, Hague said that the investment represented a considerable increase on previous aid budgets and signaled the UK’s strong commitment to the region, a release from the CARICOM Secretariat yesterday stated.
“We are one of the few nations in the world that is maintaining its international development commitments at a time of financial difficulty. We will stick to our pledge to raise our aid to 0.7 of GNI, and you will find us a reliable partner,” said Hague, according to a transcript of his remarks. The minister outlined four areas – prosperity, security, climate change and foreign policy – for which the funds will be allocated and for which the UK was seeking greater cooperation with the Caribbean. “The programme focuses on economic growth and jobs, improving security and fighting corruption and combating the threat from natural disasters and climate change,” he explained.
In the area of prosperity, Hague said that the core task of both regions was to create new opportunities for trade, investment and innovation in their respective economies. In this regard, he stated that he would consider pushing for greater representation of the Region’s interests in the G20. “I’d like to see the UK, as well as other partners represented here today such as Canada, the EU and the US, ensuring that the particular challenges of this Region are taken into account,” he stated, according to the release.
The UK Foreign Secretary also said that his government would continue to work with the Caribbean to tackle drugs and violent crime, which affects both the UK and the Caribbean.
With regard to climate change, Hague applauded the Caribbean for the crucial role it had played “in focusing the attention of the international community on the existential threat posed by climate change to small island states,” and expressed hope that the Caribbean would continue excellent cooperation on this issue.
The Foreign Secretary also expressed an interest in fostering closer collaboration in the area of foreign policy noting that several political and governance issues have had serious impact on global stability and prosperity. He singled out Iran and Syria and the Falklands, asserting that as a matter of principle a country should have the right to determine its own future. “When these issues are discussed at the United Nations and other international organizations, your votes matter and we hope that we can work together more closely and consistently than perhaps we have in the past. We should also strive to get into the habit of more regular discussions about foreign policy issues as a whole, where we value your perspectives,” he was quoted as saying.
The meeting, which began on Friday evening ended yesterday with the release of a 31-point action plan. The plan outlines four major areas of cooperation: economic resilience, security, climate change and sustainable development and foreign policy.
The foreign ministers agreed to build economic resilience through development of practical mechanisms that will boost growth in investment, employment, production and trade opportunities that would redound to the benefit of both regions.
The UK committed to support the efforts of the Caribbean in improving their food security through efficient production and distribution measures.
The UK has also agreed to re-open dialogue on issues relating to the Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is threatening the Caribbean’s tourism sector. The UK agreed that in the spirit of cooperation and in the context of the importance of tourism to the economic development of the Caribbean, it will continue dialogue with a view to assisting the region in mitigating any deleterious effects that the application of the tax may have on its economies.
Proceeds of crime
The Foreign Ministers also agreed to develop effective coordination mechanisms to help advance the fight against drugs and international crime. In this regard, a UK-Caribbean Expertise Exchange Mechanism to promote best practices on security issues across the region will be established. They have also agreed to greater intelligence sharing in the fight against drug trafficking, and targeting the proceeds of crime and supporting the Caribbean to engage more effectively with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
Further, the ministers agreed to establish, in full collaboration with the US, a regional network of land- based law enforcement units trained and equipped to a common standard. These units would provide a fully inter-operable regional resource to conduct land based surveillance and interdiction operations. In addition, they have agreed to work to restrict the illegal trade and availability of small arms and light weapons which contribute to the increasing level of armed violence and undermine stability, security and development as well as to remain engaged in negotiations to conclude an Arms Trade Treaty in 2012.
The partners have committed to work together to strengthen the criminal justice systems in countries, including through the establishment of national prosecution services, modernisation of laws of evidence to include forensics and best practice on gathering evidence from suspects and witnesses.
The UK and the Caribbean will work with the Common-wealth Legislative Drafting Programme to assist with the development of criminal procedure/justice in the region.
They have agreed to share best practices and use this to strengthen efforts to reduce youth crime, gangs and violence and improve the juvenile justice system in the Caribbean. The Foreign Ministers also committed to strengthen efforts to combat the trafficking in persons; and to keep each side apprised of issues related to criminal deportees.
In the area of climate change and sustainable development the UK noted that the Caribbean already had a very strong voice in the international community and is poised to “give value for money.” Therefore Foreign Ministers agreed on the urgency of closing mitigation gaps to bring global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius or below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
They have also committed to ensure that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is made fully operational and begins to disburse funds as expeditiously as possible, including to enhance climate resilience in the most vulnerable countries.
They have agreed to develop a long-term strategy to ensure energy security for the Caribbean through the greater use of indigenous and renewable sources.
As it relates to foreign policy, the Foreign Ministers agreed to work together in international fora to tackle pressing socio-political and security issues which threaten international peace and security.
The CARICOM Foreign Ministers were pleased with the outcome of the forum, the Caricom Secretariat said.
Isle port director offered job in Florida
The Daily News
Published January 19, 2012
GALVESTON — Port Director Steve Cernak has been offered the position of director at Port Everglades in Florida, officials confirm.
Cernak, could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
But Roland Bassett, chairman of the island port’s governing board, confirmed Cernak was offered the job by Broward County officials.
The Port of Everglades governing board must ratify the hiring of Cernak and is expected to vote on the matter Jan. 31.
As director of the Port of Galveston, Cernak earns about $201,550.
The Port Everglades position will pay up to $217,484.
Under Cernak’s reign, Port of Galveston revenues doubled, and Galveston became homeport to Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International vessels.
More recently Disney Cruise Line announced it would begin sailing from the island beginning in September.
Cernak replaced Kay Moore, who resigned in 2002.
Moore left shortly after voters in December 2001 rejected a deal that would have deeded Galveston’s city-owned docks to the Port of Houston.
Bassett said Cernak had been frank about his application to the Port of Everglades.
The Florida port invited Cernak to apply, Bassett said.
“He’s done a wonderful job for the Port of Galveston and we hate to see him go,” Bassett said. “They have higher revenues and more traffic than the Port of Galveston and it’s a step up for him. I wish him well.”
Port Everglades is on the southeast tip of the Florida peninsula at Fort Lauderdale, a city of almost 180,000 people.
Last year, Port Everglades posted $139 million in operating revenues. The Port of Galveston posted about $25 million in operating revenues last year.
Port Everglades saw 4,100 ship calls last year, mostly container, but also petroleum and cruise ships.
18 January 2012 Last updated at 04:50 ET 54
Several thousand workers at a major project to widen the Panama Canal are on indefinite strike over pay.
The strikers are demanding higher wages, as well as back pay.
The consortium behind the $5.25bn (£3.4bn) project says its salaries are above average but acknowledged there had been payroll problems.
The Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, handles some 5% of world trade with about 14,000 ships passing through each year.
Workers at the site downed tools on Monday.
They are demanding an increase in the basic pay from $2.90 to $4.90 an hour, with skilled workers getting a rise from $3.52 to $7.10.
They also say they are due overtime payments and are calling for an improvement in safety.
The United Group (GUPC), the multinational consortium in charge of the project, said it was working to correct some mistakes with its payroll.
It also said it abided by Panamanian regulations.
The GUPC said it was ready for talks but noted that its wages were above the minimum paid in the rest of Panama.
The Panama expansion project involves building a third set of locks to enable some of the world's biggest ships to pass through.
The project is due for completion in 2014.
January 18, 2012 04:30PM
After selling its headquarters to Genting, the Miami Herald has been in talks to relocate to the former headquarters of Bertram Yachts. But the South Florida Business Journal reported those negotiations have stalled and probably won’t be restored.
The Journal speculated that the talks broke down because of the underwriting challenges facing a speculative building for a tenant in the diminishing print media industry. The property in question, Miami International Centre, is 21 acres and includes more than 400,000 square feet of manufacturing and marina facilities.
Now, the Herald will renew its search with broker Tere Blanca of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. The Journal said it may look to the U.S. Souther Command in Doral. [SFBJ]
Costa Captain discovers unknown rock in Mediterranean Sea
I had to laugh at the lame Miami Herald defense of the safety of the cruise industry in the wake of the ridiculous sinking of the Costa Concordia and the deaths onboard.
The reason the boat hit the rock and sunk is that the Captain did not have a local pilot on board who knew the waters yet decided he could read unfamiliar charts and navigate close enough to Giglio so his favorite waiter could wave at his family, on shore.
You gotta get pretty close to shore to see a tiny Italian head water wave for the flybridge of a giant cruise ship. And you better know the waters or have someone on board that does.
But Carnival, which has created political action committees across the world to fight the rules requiring harbor pilots in unfamiliar waters, Carnival’s excuse is that the captain turned off the computer that had been programmed to drive the ship. He took control of his vessel, steered it into the rocks then cut and ran.
This incident reveals that at least some of the Carnival fleet travel not under the watchful eye of a helmsman and a pilot and a watchstander. They travel in treacherous waters following a computer program, installed by some geek in port
The Herald in its cloying editorial points out that big cruise ships do not sink and kill people anywhere near as frequently as crewmembers rob and rape passengers. And it concluded, without any inclination about the truth of its metaphor: “When it comes to safety, the industry always practices cruise control.”
And the reason why we stand firmly behind the laws requiring trained and experienced bar pilots and harbor pilots is that they bring big ships safely to their berths. Near shore is no place or time for safety by cruise control or captains who are out of their element.
* Death toll rises to five, confusion about number of missing
* South Korean honeymooners and crewmember saved
* Captain arrested
* Passengers talk of panic and fighting for lifejackets
By Gavin Jones and Antonio Denti
GIGLIO, Italy, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Divers found the bodies of two elderly men inside a capsized cruiseliner on Sunday, bringing the known death toll from a spectacular accident off Italy's coast to five, with another 70 people injured.
Divers and other rescuers were painstakingly checking thousands of cabins on the Italian liner Costa Concordia for 15 people still unaccounted for after the huge vessel foundered and keeled over with more 4,229 passengers and crew on board.
A day after the disaster, rescuers plucked a South Korean honeymoon couple and an injured crewmember alive from the wreck, lying on its side close to the beautiful island of Giglio off Italy's west coast, after being holed by a rock on Friday night.
The captain of the luxury 114,500-tonne ship, Francesco Schettino, was arrested on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, Italian police said.
Searching the vast ship for survivors was like combing through a small town - but one tilted on its side, largely in darkness and partly submerged.
In the early afternoon, scuba divers looking for survivors instead found the bodies of two men at a gathering point in the submerged part of the ship, coastguard officials said.
The bodies of two French tourists and a Peruvian crew member were found on Saturday.
The discovery of the bodies on Sunday dampened earlier euphoria when a helicopter lifted off injured chief purser Manrico Gianpetroni, hours after rescuers made voice contact with him deep inside the stricken, multi-storey vessel.
Gianpetroni, who had a broken leg, was winched up from the ship on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
"I never lost hope of being saved. It was a 36-hour nightmare," he told reporters.
In the early hours of Sunday rescuers pulled out the two South Koreans from a cabin, after locating them from several decks above. They looked dazed but unharmed as they were brought ashore.
By Sunday afternoon, about a quarter of the part of the ship that is still above the waterline had been searched. "This is a floating city and it's very difficult," said Luca Cari, spokesman for firefighters on Giglio.
Passengers compared the disaster to the sinking of the Titanic, and described people leaping into the sea and fighting over lifejackets in panic when the ship hit a rock and ran aground as they sat down for dinner on Friday night.
The vast hulk of the 290-metre-long ship loomed over the little port of Giglio, a picturesque island in a maritime nature reserve off the Tuscan coast. A large gash was visible in its side.
Rescue workers including specialist diving teams faced a complex task as they worked their way through more than 2,000 cabins on the ship - a floating resort that boasted a huge spa, seven restaurants, bars, cinemas and discotheques.
Paolo Tronca, a local fire department official, said the search would go on "for 24 hours a day as long as we have to" and that rescue workers were using sniffer dogs in the section of the ship above water.
As the search continued, there were demands for explanations of why the vessel had come so close to the shore and bitter complaints about how long it took to evacuate the terrified passengers.
State prosecutor Francesco Verusio said investigations might go beyond the captain.
"We are investigating the possible responsibility of other people for such a dangerous manoeuvre," he told SkyTG24 television. "The command systems did not function as they should have."
He said the ship had come within 150 metres (yards) of the coast, which he called "incredibly close".
Agnese Stella, a 72-year-old housewife who has lived on Giglio for 50 years told Reuters: "It came much too close (to shore), it never comes this close normally."
Magistrates said Schettino abandoned the vessel before all the passengers were taken off.
The vessel's operator, Costa Crociere, a unit of Carnival Corp & Plc, the world's largest cruise company, said the Costa Concordia had been sailing on its regular course when it struck a submerged rock.
In a television interview, Schettino said the rock was not marked on any maritime charts of the area.
After an intense rescue operation throughout the weekend, involving helicopters, ships and lifeboats, many passengers had already left the area. Many were taken to Rome airport for flights home.
The ship was involved in an accident on Nov. 22, 2008 when it hit a port wall and was damaged while docking.
Local officials expressed concern the ship's fuel, at full load as it had just begun the cruise, could spill into pristine waters off Giglio. So far there was no sign of pollution. Dutch maritime services company SMIT said it had been hired to pump fuel off the ship once the rescue was over.
The coast guard says the removal of the 2,380 tonnes of fuel cannot begin until the rescue is complete because the operation could cause the vessel to move or sink further into the water.
DINNER TIME DISASTER
Passengers had just sat down to dinner, a few hours after leaving the port of Civitavecchia near Rome on a week-long cruise to Barcelona and Majorca, when a loud bang interrupted the piano player and the ship began to list.
"We heard a loud rumble, the glasses and plates fell from the tables, the ship tilted and the lights went off," said passenger Luciano Castro.
"What followed was scenes of panic, people screaming, running around the place. Close to us a five-month pregnant young woman was crying and panicking."
The ship was carrying almost a thousand Italians, as well as passengers from Britain, Germany, France, Spain, the United States and other countries. Many were elderly and some were in wheelchairs. It became more and more difficult to lower the lifeboats the more the ship listed.
"It was complete panic. People were behaving like animals. We had to wait too long in the lifeboats," said Patrizia Perilli, 47.
Passengers said they had been given little or no information immediately after the ship ran aground.
"After approximately 20 minutes a voice told us there was a problem with the electricity that they were trying to fix," said Castro.
"The ship continued to tilt further, after 15 minutes they said again it was a problem with the electricity, but no one believed it," he said.
"Of course panic makes things worse and the crew members struggled to calm down the most active and worried passengers."
The ship was built in 2004-2005 at a cost of 450 million euros ($570.00 million) at Italy's Fincantieri Sestri shipyard.
Friday, 13 January 2012 07:10
Trujillo itself is a sleepy little town with few tourists but a whole lot of character. It’s also slated to be the site of Honduras’ first mainland cruise ship port, currently under construction with completion of both the terminal and an oceanfront shopping center and transportation hub slated for the 2012-13
The landscape with its jungles, rivers, and waterfalls is breathtaking; the beaches are endless and devoid of sun worshipping crowds; the history is fascinating; and the numerous Garifuna villages that dot the shoreline remain some of the most authentic and picturesque places in the country.
By Kimberley Player
"I’m leaving Roatán to explore the north coast of the mainland.” This statement caused a bit of a stir amongst my island acquaintances. “You’re leaving Roatán? Why? For the mainland? Don’t you know it’s not nearly as nice or safe over there?” Maybe this was true; maybe it wasn’t, but I needed a change of scenery. I needed to get away from the concentrated tourist environment of Roatán, from the hordes of cruise shippers and expat residents and the feeling that I’d been dropped into a Canadian province, albeit one that more resembled Margaritaville than my home country’s more stereotypical snowy vistas. The bottom line was that my current surroundings, while unquestionably gorgeous and fun, were nothing like the Honduras that I had originally come to Central America to see.
Truth be told, it was my background in economic and resort development that led to my interest in the north coast, specifically the stretch of land from Trujillo through La Ceiba to Tela. I had read about lofty plans to transform this region into a major tourist destination through massive public and private investment in infrastructure and of course, real estate. In my experience, such development too often changes untouched (or underutilized, depending on your viewpoint) places forever and I wanted to see the north coast before the inevitable occurred.
And I was not disappointed, although I suppose if I had been looking for a prepackaged 5-star experience complete with high end hotels and Americanized amenities, I would have been. But the north coast of Honduras truly is a jewel or, as the Honduras Ministry of Tourism puts it, an area of “natural resources and cultural assets that endow the coast with a tourism potential that is unique in the region”. The landscape with its jungles, rivers, and waterfalls is breathtaking; the beaches are endless and devoid of sun worshipping crowds; the history is fascinating; and the numerous Garifuna villages that dot the shoreline remain some of the most authentic and picturesque places in the country. On the other hand, it’s true that the roads are challenging by Western standards and that the infrastructure in general needs significant improvement. It’s also true that the region’s many varied attractions are poorly defined and not properly marketed, particularly to an international audience.
Trujillo itself is a sleepy little town with few tourists but a whole lot of character. It’s also slated to be the site of Honduras’ first mainland cruise ship port, currently under construction with completion of both the terminal and an oceanfront shopping center and transportation hub slated for the 2012-13 cruise season. Proponents of the development often point to Roatán as an example of the economic benefits associated with cruise ship business. However, they also tend to ignore the realities of the strain on the island’s environment, infrastructure, and people, as well as the fact that despite large traveler numbers, the aforementioned benefits typically remain limited to a few local tours, a meal here and there, and perhaps the purchase of a piece of local jewelry or a t-shirt.
The benefits of increases in real estate values are also touted. Unfortunately, the people that stand most to gain from this phenomenon are not the locals who, if history repeats itself, will end up selling off their properties to foreigners, but outside investors who have already been sold on cheap land and the prospect of living like kings in the "Richest Poorest Country in the World". Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) projects claiming to offer early investment opportunities in “the next Roatán” belong to a Canadian developer dubbed “the porn king” by some in reference to his past career in adult store chains. Hundreds of home sites, some of which are located on land claimed by local Garifuna communities, are being sold almost exclusively to Canadians. The majority have bought without ever setting foot in Honduras, with the end goal being appreciation of their new offshore assets.
Plans for Tela are even bigger, with one of Honduras’ largest ever tourism-related public-private partnerships focused on the creation of Tela Bay or as it’s also known, the Micos Beach and Golf Resort. This project is projected to eventually consist of 4- and 5-star hotels, an 18-hole golf course, golf and beach clubs, shopping areas, and 300-400 villas. Like some of the Trujillo developments, it has a controversial background, particularly on the Garifuna land claim front. It has also been suggested that planned wetland filling will significantly damage the environment. While the government and major lenders, most notably the Inter-American Development Bank have highlighted the need for a “policy framework for the strategic development and sustainable management of regional assets that will ensure a course of environmentally sustainable and socially equitable growth”, we can only hope that such ideals become accountable standards to which key stakeholders, particularly private sector developers, are held.
La Ceiba, it is worth noting, is pursuing a more sustainable and diverse tourism development strategy for which key players such as CANATURH, RECOTURH and the local Camara de Turismo de La Ceiba should be applauded. Granted the economic fundamentals of Honduras’ third largest city are significantly different from both Trujillo and Tela; however, lessons can be learned from La Ceiba’s focus on organic growth, historic preservation, and evolution of tourism product outside of traditional sun and beach options.
I love Roatán, but does Honduras need to create “the next Roatán” on its north coast? Please no. Please don’t copy the development path of a Caribbean island that has made its own mistakes in managing tourism and its impact on land use, the environment, and its people. Do showcase your beauty and natural resources to the world, but ensure that you have a system in place to retain them. Do create jobs and improve the quality of life for locals, but understand and mitigate the negative impacts of turning your backyard into a playground for extranjeros. I wish all the best for this beautiful and still relatively untouched part of Honduras and hope that it can truly be developed in a sustainable manner, one that benefits not just a wealthy few, but its people and land first and foremost. (1/13/12) (photo courtesy Internet)
Note: The author is an economic and real estate development consultant who is travelling in Central America while researching the impact of tourism on land use.