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Jun 29, 2017

Tourism Board Woos New Visitors

The Belize Tourism Expo organized an online forum today connecting local tourism stakeholders to international agents. The event at the Biltmore Plaza is a cost effective way to attract visitors to Belize from all over the world. It started this morning and will continue through to the early hours of Friday morning because of the different time zones. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, the Belize Tourism Board embarked on its first virtual expo, in which it is hosting some twenty-eight private stakeholders, suppliers and partners within the tourism sector. Essentially, the online expo creates a forum for international agents and tourists, referred to as buyers, to make reservations and find out more about what Belize has to offer as well as to make accommodations for their next getaway trip.


Michelle Bowers-Flowers

Michelle Bowers-Flowers, Travel Trade Manager, B.T.B.

“We have about a hundred and twenty buyers from all over the world; all the major target markets which includes North America, Central America, South America and Europe. We actually started training yesterday. Today, we are going from seven until five and actually it kicks in one o’clock tomorrow morning until nine in the morning so we can focus on the European. So while we are sleeping ordinarily, they are awake so we have to cater to them.”


Duane Moody

“How did this come about?”


Michelle Bowers-Flowers

“Well we’re looking at new and innovative ways of actually getting the word out. And we looked at cost effective measures to have our private sector partners attend our trade show without actually spending all the monies. So we were looking at what we can do and we decided in a virtual trade show. So they actually met with agents and wholesalers, book appointments as you would go to a trade show, but it is all done virtually. So people are getting a taste of the country whetting their appetites so that later on they come and experience the product first hand.”


So how does it work? B.T.B.’s Travel Trade Manager Michelle Bowers-Flowers explains the experience of the virtual platform.


Michelle Bowers-Flowers

“There are actually two rooms. We have a private room so the private sector partners who have actually made appointments with these agents and wholesalers are in separate meetings. And then we have a public room; so people who did not make appointment, but still want the opportunity to meet with the private sector partners they can go into that room. So sometimes people will just hit you with a message saying ‘hi’ and it provokes the call from there. We actually have a presentation room as well. So you go in a special room and you do a presentation to agents and wholesalers, virtually.”


Even before the virtual expo got off today, the concept won an award for Belize two weeks ago in London. The Latin American Travel Agency was looking for innovative and creative ways for technology and Belize’s PR Firm, Brighter’s Group, submitted the expo, which came out on top.

With that enthusiasm, the winner of the 2016 Hotel and Restaurant of the Year, San Ignacio Resort Hotel got on board.


Shamira Marrufo

Shamira Marrufo, Reservations, San Ignacio Resort Hotel

“I think it is very important since we can do it from the comfort of our own home. We can deal directly with people from the UK, people from all over the world at their time, at their space. So it is pretty good.  We have had a lot of buyers contacting us; they are very interested in Belize, especially the western part of Belize, the Cayo District. Reasons are because we have a lot of interesting sites, caves and the adventure part itself. So what they don’t have there, they can definitely find it here in Belize. So that is definitely what’s calling them to our beautiful country.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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