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Jan 14, 2011

National Geographic writer, Costas Christ, as Global Ambassador of Tourism

There’s a new kid in town. Earlier today, the Belize Tourism Board introduced National Geographic writer, Costas Christ, as Global Ambassador of Tourism. Christ says he will be promoting the jewel to increase the number of visitors and he is safely on the side of cruise tourism.  News Five Isani Cayetano caught up with him.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Belize as a tourist destination has grown tremendously over the past decade with the number of cruise and overnight arrivals increasing annually.  The Belize Tourism Board, for its part, has been aggressively marketing the Jewel and has hired the help of seasoned tourism insiders.  Renowned travel writer Costas Christ was recently named Belize’s Global Tourism Ambassador.  With a wealth of knowledge and experience under his belt Christ is expected to promote Belize as an ideal travel destination to countries whose citizens might not be aware of the Jewel and all its hidden treasures.  According to Christ the idea is to be able to integrate Belize’s universal appeal with BTB’s newly unveiled objective to promote tourism through a practical and efficient system.

Costas Christ, Global Tourism Ambassador, Belize

Costas Christ

“We have here in Belize a National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan thats taking place so the importance of sustainability will be key in our marketing message as well.  In addition to that other networks that Im involved with that I think are going to be important sources for BTB to access are groups like Virtuoso which is the largest business to business travel trade network in the world and there are others in addition to that.”

Isani Cayetano

“How have you seen the tourism product here in Belize grow and develop over the past several years in terms of cruise and overnight tourism?”

Costas Christ

“Well I think Belize has a good tourism product to begin with and I say that in two ways; for example, just the assets of the country itself its cultural heritage, its natural heritage, you know, is unique in the world for a country of this size and it really means that Belize can stand up on its own two feet as a world class destination.  At the same time there are some outstanding hotels and lodges for example in the overnight sector we have some great tour operations but we also recognize we need to bring the quality and the standards of our tourism products up further and I think thats going to be a key element in BTBs strategy.  And in terms of the marketing side thats the message that I want to be able to bring out there to the global community.”

Despite the recent woes in the cruise tourism sector Christ says he’s confident that the market can continue contributing to the local economy if it is managed properly.

Costas Christ

“I think that cruise tourism can be a very important part of the tourism economic pie but it has to be planned and managed very carefully.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that all forms of tourism, really tourism is like fire, out of control it’ll just burn your house down and it can damage things.  But just like fire when you manage it and you plan it carefully you can stay warm, you can cook your food.  It can be a positive thing.  So really I think BTB’s emphasis is to manage and plan that process carefully so that there’s a sustainable tourism development model in this country so that fifty, seventy years from now there’s still guides taking people out to a pristine reef.  There’s still wonderful opportunities to see a beautiful, you know, healthy rainforest and there’s still vibrant cultural activities happening whether that’s Mayan traditional culture or Garifuna celebrations along the southern coast.”

Christ is also chairman of World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Awards which recognizes best examples globally in tourism best practices. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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1 Response for “National Geographic writer, Costas Christ, as Global Ambassador of Tourism”

  1. marilyn says:

    It is unfortunate that this terrible incident happen. We must teach our children not to speak with strangers. Do not trust anyone, even if it is someone that is well known to your family. It is sad to say progress brings problems. The progress Belize has made is bringing the country a lot of problems to day. Everyone must be vigilent. Check your environment. My sympathy goes out to the family of that 12 year old. Thats what you call a lost.

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