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Aug 8, 2013

Business Expo and Carnival on the same day?

As it stands tonight, both the popular Expo Belize Marketplace and the Carnival Road March have been scheduled for the fourteenth of September. Now both events attract huge crowds and are an integral part of the national celebrations calendar. This is giving rise to unease in the private sector who believe that the carnival will detract from their investment in the Expo. Duane Moody spoke to businesses who invest heavily at the Expo.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The weekend that falls between the tenth and the twenty-first of the month of September each year, is traditionally set aside for Expo Belize Marketplace organized by the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This year, the popular expo has been scheduled for the fourteenth and fifteenth of September. But there is growing concerns from businesses that invest tens of thousands of dollars because the date of the expo is clashing with another major event for the September Celebrations, the Carnival Road March.

 

Karan Sabdani

Karan Sabdani, Co-Owner, Cellular World

“Expo is one of our biggest times for the year…it is really Christmas in September; actually I would say even bigger than Christmas because of the kinds of offers we carry out and it is only for two days and a couple of hours each day. So every year we spend a lot of time, we put a lot of investment to make sure every year we have a bigger display, a better display and of course a cheaper display of items which every year people come and ask and expect better each year. So for us when I initially heard that there is a clash in the dates with carnival, I was a bit appalled by it because it is not like a tenth or a twenty-first parade—that is kinda smaller—carnival to me is one of the biggest events we have in this country. And it is clashing with one of the second biggest business events that they have in Belize. Basically we are down to a Saturday with very few people attending because a lot of people are either participating or watching the carnival and it leaves people with just the option of Sunday which from our records, Saturday has always been the busy day for expo.”

 

SMART Belize booth also draws the attention of many persons because of its attractive deals on cell phones and other gadgets. The company has lodged a complaint with the BCCI, over the decision taken by the September Celebrations Committee…. which Public Relations Officer, Ian Courtenay says is unfortunate.

 

Ian Courtenay

Ian Courtenay, P.R.O., SMART

“We think it is an unfortunate case that both events will happen on the same weekend. We feel that for the investment that we make in attending the expo and putting on an exhibit for our customers, we will definitely lose some of the attendance or a significant amount of the attendance on the Saturday. It is a big investment. When you think about; apart from the rental and electricity that we have to pay to the chamber for the space that we normally use, promotional items that we give away to customers, the investment in stock in order to meet the demand. We usually sell well over a thousand phones so we have to invest in that. Preparing our staff; staff who in the district have to come in and assist…there are numerous cost to any company attending and making representation at the expo.”

 

Santiago Castillo Limited is another conglomerate which provides visitors with great deals on grocery items and other household goods, Marketing Manager for the SanCas group, Aisha Rudon, says they are hoping that the sales and business will just roll over into Sunday.

 

Aisha Rudon

Aisha Rudon, Marketing Manager, SanCas Group

“We are concerned about the fact that it is on the same day as the first day of expo; however, I think it is in our best interests to provide fabulous promotions so that they don’t not go on Saturday. Carnival Road March actually starts at one o’clock. yes I know that there are both children and adults participating in the road march; however, we would hope that the masses would take advantage that it starts at one…come our early, visit the booth and see what we have to offer and thank goodness that there is a second day, the Sunday. What we miss the Saturday, we expect and we are hoping that it will fold over on the Sunday. So we are going to be there Duane…this is one of the biggest shows o f the year and we have to be there to represent our suppliers—Dutch lady, our Seven Seas, our Orbit Gum. We just got to be there. So people San Cas is going to be at the expo; we are going to have fabulous promotions, you can’t miss. So we expect to see you there either Saturday morning early or Sunday we expect the crowd to double because our investment is big.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

When News Five contacted NICH this afternoon, we were told that the matter will be discussed in cabinet this coming Tuesday to determine a way forward. 

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