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Dec 5, 2014

BTIA Holds AGM

The annual general meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association took place this morning at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City. While the tourism industry has faced its own share of challenges it has grown to become the second largest in Belize and today it is in robust form. In fact, it is creating employment for one out of seven Belizeans. There is also a new man at the helm of the organization; Osmany Salas of the Orange Walk B.T.I.A. takes over as president. First Vice- President is Valerie Woods, and Second Vice-President, is Stewart Krohn. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The state of Belize’s tourism industry, the travel sector being responsible for a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, was the topic of discussion at the annual general meeting of the BTIA.  Stellar numbers in overnight and cruise arrivals over the past few months are due in large part to the aggressive promotion of Belize as an ideal tourist destination.

 

Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism

Karen Bevans

“As you are aware, for the first time within ten months Belize has achieved its one million visitor milestone, a target that was set to be accomplished at the end of the year.  While this is historic and sets a new target for us, we are already seeing that the potential for us to sustain this growth is quite promising.  In a nutshell, our marketing efforts are yielding very encouraging results and while the BTB utilizes this success as a measurement of its performance we are also cognizant of the fact that the marketing efforts of our partners at the BTIA, BHA, along with other individual hoteliers and stakeholders have all been responsible for the success in marketing our destination.”

 

Tourism has grown tremendously since the industry began circa 1989.  Over the past twenty-five years, employment has also increased exponentially, particularly in the hotel sector.

 

Karen Bevans

“Overnight arrivals, on the other hand, was approximately a hundred and fifty thousand visitors, showing that we have grown in overnight tourism by some two hundred percent within twenty-five years.  With just those brief statistics you may already recognize that twenty-five years ago the growth and development of our economy had very little dependence on tourism.  Today, the tourism industry is the second largest in Belize, following only the agriculture industry.  Tourism also employs one in every seven persons.  Twenty-five years ago, less than two thousand Belizeans worked in the overnight sector in hotels across the country.”

 

Of equal importance during today’s meeting was an update on pending litigation concerning the proposed Harvest Caye development by Norwegian Cruise Line.  That matter is set to commence at the end of February 2015.

 

Herbert Haylock

Herbert Haylock, President, BTIA

“You will recall that the association, your association has taken the matter raised by our Placencia chapter opposing the NCL port development on Harvest Caye to the court and we were successful in two of our grounds being considered by the court in the hearing that have gone in recent months.  And again, I can announce that that substantive case is now set to be heard on February twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, twenty-eight, 2015 in the Supreme Court and again your new BTIA board will now need to be at the fore of this action and persist towards what we obviously hope is an outcome in favor of the association.”

 

Other achievements coming out of the annual gathering is the renewal of an MOU between the Belize Hotel Association, Belize Tourism Industry Association and BTB.  Coming out of that is a focus on advertising Destination Belize.

 

Karen Bevans

“I am pleased to say that the BTB now plans to renew the memorandum of understanding with the BTIA and the BHA to reengage as true partners having the same mission of promoting Belize as the destination of choice.  The BTB has further agreed to consistently promote both the hotel guide and the Destination Belize as official collaterals of both BHA and BTIA.  On an individual level, I continue to personally take the time to visit and meet with stakeholders to engage with them and hear their personal views on the industry and ways to foster the growth we all want to sustain.”

 

Herbert Haylock

“I would like to note that in the last year we’ve seen a renewed effort with the Belize Tourism Board to reestablish a mutually beneficial relationship.  I extend my personal thanks to Mrs. Karen Bevans at the helm of BTB and again to the chair of the board Dr. Carla Barnett for their continued effort to keep the process of communication open with the association.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “BTIA Holds AGM”

  1. concerned Belize says:

    Having many people that represent key organization is a slap in the face, no wonder we have many concessions given to private companies or companies that strangle our small businesses. We need to get rid of some of those people.

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