Friday, June 10, 2011

Belize Tourism Board's 12th Annual Tourism Industry Presentation

Will Moreno

Yesterday The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held it's 12th Annual Industry Presentation at the Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. In attendance was the Prime Minister of Belize - Hon. Dean Barrow; Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture - Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.; CEO of Tourism - Lyndsay Garbutt and Director of Tourism - Seleni Matus along with distinguished and invited guests and members of the general public.
Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Rene Villanueva started off by inviting Mr. Costas Christ who is a tourism visionary to the podium. he reminded Belizeans, "If you know your history, you will know your destiny". He also talked about Belize being the leader and pioneer in the Tourism industry. Belize hosted the 1st Eco-Tourism Conference and 1st Congress on Tourism and the Environment. He also made note that Belize needs to keep with the practice of sustainable tourism and that Belize's tourism industry was going through a metamorphosis.
He was followed by the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture - Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.who was proud of the positive growth in the Belize tourism industry since 2010. The Minister then presented a check of $2,200,000. to the industry partners of Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE) which was the surplus in revenue that the industry generated and was being reinvested for further growth.
Director of Tourism - Seleni Matus addressed the attendees and shared some facts about the direction that the Belize Tourism Board has taken over the past year and new ventures for the year 2011. The Director of Tourism said that the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) was focusing on 3 important areas: Recalibration, Reorganization and Real Accountability. They are also changing the structure of their marketing program to focus on Travel Trade, Direct Online, Hospitality Information, Media Public Relations and others. BTB has enacted new and improved programs, Quality Assurance, Destination Planning, Information Systems, Revenue Collection to compliment their new direction.

Belize's Prime Minister - Hon. Dean Barrow then noted that Belize's Tourism is responsible for 1/4 of the the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which means many people in Belize are very dependent on the tourism industry. First Quarter Overnight visitors to Belize rose by 2123 visitors. He goes on to mention that the government is committed to the Belize tourism industry and the government will be restructuring the tourism police, improving safety and security of tourists and enacting a measure for all our visitors. The Prime Minister also mentioned that the government will commit to making Belize a World Class Destination by investing  $12.1 Million Dollars on marketing Belize as a destination. He mentioned that Tourism is an industry that crosses government ministries and they will work with the private sector to accomplish this great task. There was mention of upcoming projects to aid tourism in key areas around Belize. The projects to be developed in Cayo is scheduled for July, Placencia is scheduled for September, Belize City and San Pedro are scheduled for October.
The Belize Tourism Board recently announced their partnership with Matador Travel, an independent media company who serves the global community sharing travel destinations. Matador Travel recently embedded a graduate of Matador U, Megan Wood, in Belize to blog about her experiences in Belize. BTB will also be linking with major companies like BVK an independent advertising agency in the USA with experience in marketing tourism. BVK's goal is to make Belize a Brand Name. JG Black Book of Travel will be Belize's new PR Agency and will assist the travel industry with marketing, promotion, and sales management services. JG Black Book of Travel's goal is to use their deep connection in the tourism industry and share their network with Belize to further make Belize a well known destination. Edelman will be another PR Firm that will be assisting the BTB with marketing. Edelman's goal is to inspire-educate and share Belize as a destination.

Belize Tourism Industry is the backbone of Belizean society and any shift means a change in Belize's economy. The changes that are being taken should be a boost to Belize's Tourism and a boost to visitors coming to this wonderful destination where the people, music, culture, food and everything in between its borders is definitely worth visiting.

Come to Belize and Be One With Belize!

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