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Sep 9, 2014

Highlights of Expo 2014

The annual expo Belize market place was held over the weekend at the ITVET compound in Belize City. It’s always a big deal, always crowded, always full of deals and excitement and this year didn’t disappointment. The official numbers put the number of visitors at nineteen thousand attendees. It was literally impossible to capture the full spectacle that was this year’s expo, but our News Five team tried to cover some of the highlights. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

For a first timer at the business expo, it was too much to take in all at once. Booths all over the place with everything from luxury SUVs to special discounts on Mac & Cheese…phones, appliances, electronics, groceries, food, drinks, balloons, beautiful women all over the place. It was enough to make my head spin. Did I mention beautiful women? Belizeans by the thousands – every size, shape and color – little ones, big ones, medium-sized ones….some just there for a good time and others determined to take advantage of this once a year blowout. The early, heavy rains on Saturday did nothing to stop the expo jam.

 

Jamie Rocke

Jamie Rocke, Marketing and PR Officer, BCCI

“Not at all actually we’ve had people lining up from seven and you should have seen the digicell booth especially, crowded. A whole long line and people are very optimistic which is good. So we’ve had a good crowd and turn out so far.”

 

For many of Belize’s bigger corporations, the annual expo is a chance to reach thousands of Belizeans from across the country – all in one place and in a time span of only two days. So they trot out their best deals, best-selling products and most effective sales-pitch.

 

Josue Carballo

Josue Carballo, Marketing Manager, SMART

“We always come out to the Expo offer deals starting with the double and triple up which is a regular favourite for our customers. And we are having devices starting as low as sixty-five dollars with credit. We have our data devices as well: our smart phones, our android phones with special sales on our hotspots and USB connections. So we are here in that spirit to allow our customers to free up yuself.”

 

Ian Lizarraga, GO Wireless

“This is becoming a GO nation. Every home in Belize is going to have, at some point very soon, a GO laptop, a Go phone, a GO tablet or a GO accessory.”

 

Vicky Thadhani, GO Wireless

Vicky Thadhani

“It’s been so crazy we cannot handle the crowd. You can check out my booth. We have so many people there. They come to us. We have loyal customers. I appreciate all my customers. We simply have the best deal.”

 

This one was a favourite of the kids, and even some adults who tried to get in on the fun. It’s about as close as you can get to walking on water – a new thing in Belize, but from the look of it, this idea is going places.

 

Emil Torres

Emil Torres, Walk on Water

“It’s a very safe entertainment for the children of pretty much any age. Depending of the heights of the kids, they can stay in the ball up to about fifteen minutes. It’s a minimal cost – basically about a dollar a minute type thing…just to get in the ball and try to balance. That’s the most complicated or difficult thing about this. Other than that, most of the kids as you can see just lay down.”

 

For sheer madness, the prize went out to the B.T.L. booth which came up with the idea of a nine dollar phone. One woman we spoke to who was so tired of the wait she wanted to hit us – claimed she’d been in line five hours, and there were still about twenty people in front of her. Like we said, crazy, like only the Expo can do it.

 

Tanya Tillett

Tanya Tillett, Marketing Department, B.T.L.

“The movement has been tremendous. From early this morning, despite all the rain and all that thunder storm, it hasn’t stopped. We expected a crowd, but we didn’t expect this much. It is really tremendous. People are in really high demand for this nine dollars phone. I think we are almost out of it, but it’s definitely going to done today.”

 

And then there was my personal favourite – this little tricked out baby right here, the Isuzu DMAX. Bravo Motors is doing the leasing thing now, which means that you can be driving one of these for about thirty dollars a day.

 

Daedra Isaacs-Haylock

Daedra Isaacs-Haylock, Sales & Marketing Manager, Bravo Motors

“It’s been awesome. I think the leasing is a new thing for Belize, and it is letting people understand that owning a new vehicle is not unheard of, it is not impossible; you can do it. And we’ve represented the dollar figure per day to let people see that in your own budgeting, owning your own vehicle and seeing the efficiency of a new vehicle, the dependency of a new vehicle, the warranty of a new vehicle, the reliability of a new vehicle is all positive for you. So we are getting a positive reception today.”

 

After about five hours of non-stop Expo, I’d had enough. There was too much to buy, too much to see, too much to do, too much to eat…too much to drink…just too much.

 

Jamie Rocke

“We have a little bit over a hundred booths, about a hundred and fifteen this year. We have the normal phone booths, we have the auto booths and grocery booths. We have a lot of small businesses this year so businesses from across the country from PG and the north doing organic products, homemade products, crafts. We have food booths as well…so we have almost everything you can imagine.”

 

Princesa Tillett

I guess I was the odd man out because as I ran for the nearest exit, I met these folks ready for the Expo experience. For the very young, it’s all about fun, fun…fun!

 

Naomi, Expo-Goer

“So I could have fun. I am looking forward to having all the fun I want.”

 

Princesa Tillett, Expo-Goer

“I want to win some prizes today and my mom is going to buy me a phone.”

 

Reporter

“What’s the thing that you are looking most forward to seeing out here today?”

 

Princesa Tillett

“The phones.”

 

Melanie Baeza

Melanie Baeza, Expo-Goer

“First of all to support the Belizean public. Different deals, different products and yes I am here to find a nice deal on cell phones and also to buy a little groceries for my home. So hope I get a good deal on groceries out here.”

 

And there you have it…Expo 2014….I’m pretty sure it was a good thing, but for this aging reporter with his youth only a fond memory…it was just too much of a good thing. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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