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Apr 26, 2012

BETEX; Big Tourism Show of the Year

The Belize Tourism Industry Association is staging its biggest show for the year, hoping to grow tourism numbers. The event has attracted international travel agents and writers, who attended a marketplace day at the Princess Hotel today. New and established tourism stakeholders are taking the opportunity to network and promote the Belizean product. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Over thirty exhibitors gathered at the biggest trade show organized by the BTIA. Hoteliers and tour operators from across the country set up booth displays in an effort to network with international travel agents and writers:

 

Jim Scott, President, BTIA

Jim Scott

“It allows us to display our tourism products from around Belize in one location today. We take our show on the road and we start going to some of the destinations around the country. We have invited travel agents, wholesalers,  and travel writers to come just to Belize to highlight our country; as opposed to going to other travel shows where there will be other destinations, other countries,  displaying their products.”

 

It’s Avon-Divers first time at BETEX. Proprietor, Ann-Marie McNeil owner of the award winning tour operator, has been to many trade shows; but she says BETEX offers a unique opportunity:

 

Anne-Marie McNeil

Anne-Marie McNeil, Avadon Divers

“It’s a kind of interesting show to me because I am kinda used to going to larger trade shows with a much higher volume of suppliers walking the shows and a much higher volume of booths and normally there is a lot of noise and a lot of people that you don’t end up connecting with or you might just give a business card to or might not make a sale with them. This show, they have set it up with the personalized appointments, you get people face to face and you get to work out some details in a quiet structured environment and your likelihood for closing a sale, and I mean not just closing a sale, a partnership of supplying is much higher in my opinion and I can already tell that I will be getting quite a few sales out of this and that pleases me very much. It’s also interesting because I don’t just represent Avadon Divers because I am a community member in Placencia. We are very interested to make sure we open that community to more and more tourism. I think that the response to Placencia and southern Belize is high in general to the suppliers that are coming to this show.”

 

Also at the trade show is Bonnier Travel & Epicurean Group; they are a repeat partner at the BETEX. Their publications which include Caribbean Travel & Life and Destination Weddings have featured Belize:

 

John Graham

John Graham, Bonnier Corporation

“We’ve been serving Latin America and the Caribbean with Caribbean traveling life, islands, and destination weddings for a number of years. The response has been great. We have a long relationship with Belize; we do a lot of co-ops in our islands and in Caribbean travelling life, they are very interested in the destination wedding market in North America which is growing leaps and bounds each year. So the response from the suppliers has been great. Our publications are enthusiasts-type books. We have great websites and we actually have a TV show called the Best of the Caribbean that airs on the discovery channel. They are all niched focused; they all have a paid circulation. Islands have been coming out thirty years, Caribbean Travel Life twenty-five years and our readers do travel to the Caribbean and Latin America. So the response from the suppliers has been great. Belize has been featured in many of the publications: Islands, Caribbean Travel Life and Destination weddings. So they have been long time partners supporters. It is a beautiful country and we’re happy to be here.”

 

Barbara Hall

And with less than a year since opening their doors for business, the Belizean Nirvana out of Placencia is at the BETEX for the first time and the opportunities are knocking at their doors:

 

Barbara Hall, Co-owner, Belizean Nirvana

“We are right on the beach in the heart of Placencia Village; very luxurious accommodation; it’s absolutely beautiful; we built it with some eco tourism in mind; we don’t have a septic, we built a waste treatment system. We also have an elevator for those folks who need a little bit of help to get to the roof top. We also built a walkway from the road to our hotel for our guests not to trudge through the sand; because it tends to be very high in Placencia. We are very excited so this is our very first trade show; BETEX. So far It’s been very responsive and we have met with a lot of travel of agents so we feel like this will be a very good outcome for us, so very nice.”

 

At the end of the day, there’s one main objective:

 

Jim Scott, President,

“We’re hoping that today the wholesalers will send more of the wholesalers will send more of their clients to Belize; that they will choose Belize as a primary destination and they will go back and promote our country and product. Ladies and gentlemen, tune into your conch shell and say, ‘si, podemos.’”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

There are other activities planned, including a Caribbean night in San Pedro and training workshops. 

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1 Response for “BETEX; Big Tourism Show of the Year”

  1. John Fowers says:

    Betex is just for the wealthy resort. We were never invited; I found out about Betex due one of our US agent who was coming down to be part of the event

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