Tourism Stakeholders Want G.O.B./B.T.B. Held Accountable
The Belize Tourism Board has been asked by industry operators to account for its sizable income and revenue, especially as it relates to tourism marketing. So, what would a cut into the B.T.B.’s income mean for the work that they do for the tourism industry? Executive Director Burgos says that they are unclear about the financials of the B.T.B., as there are no means of accountability; no financial reports and so they are still not sure of the extent of the impact. Burgos said that the B.T.B. has been mum on the proposal. Moving forward, the B.T.I.A. is hoping to engage in meaningful dialogue and that Government will give consideration to their suggestions. But the Executive Director made it clear that it is something they are very concerned about and want to see it addressed as smoothly and quickly as possible.
John Burgos, Executive Director, B.T.I.A.
“Well, let me tell you – over the last two years we have had concerns about not knowing the financials of the B.T.B. We don’t know where the money is really spent. We don’t see financial reports – this information is not really shared and not publicly accessed; that is one of the things that we have been voicing to the BTB to consider presenting those so we have a clear idea of where the funding is going. So, now Government is making the claim that know where the funding is going and so on; but now you are using that argument to deduct ten percent of what they generate on a yearly basis – then we have an issue because then you don’t really know how that will impact how they perform their mandate. For example, the B.T.B.’s sole focus is to market Belize globally. How is that going to impact? We don’t know. We haven’t heard from the B.T.B.”
“Now, ideally, you would want Government to reconsider and hold back these measures that are bad for tourism; moving, forward if these things are – or if Government doesn’t give in or consider the B.T.I.A.’s suggestions, how do you plan to move forward as an industry?”
“That is something that we have to give keen consideration to – what are we going to do as a national association – what we are going to do with our members. And you know, we cannot give up. I can definitely tell you that we are not going to lie down and accept whatever Government wants to do. They represent us – the Government represent the people – we are the people and we as stakeholders are the people they should be representing so they should be listening to us. We have a strong voice we have a membership of four hundred members countrywide and if you look at the revenue they generate jointly, it is massive revenues you are talking about and you cannot undermine that.”