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Aug 24, 2022

Recent Tourism Festival Dubbed a Success for San Pedro Businesses

Since the recent Belize International Music and Food Festival, a first-of-its-kind two-day event in San Pedro, the media has been asking Prime Minister John Briceño and Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler to show where the event was profitable. As Mahler promised a week ago, those figures would be provided. The figures are out; however, it is not clear whether they have been properly audited.  News Five’s Marion Ali has a report on the overall success of the event.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The initial budget for the first-ever Belize International Music and Food Festival, held in San Pedro on July thirtieth and thirty-first, was set at seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The final figures that have been released by the Belize Tourism Board this week show that the budget was exceeded by a hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and nine dollars.  B.T.B.’s numbers, however, suggest that there was still a profit of almost fifty-two thousand dollars. When we media asked Prime Minister John Briceño earlier this month about the success of the event, he explained that the festival achieved what it set out to do, and that was to create business for San Pedro at the slowest time of year.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño (Friday, Aug. 5, 2022)

“B.T.B was there to create business activity in San Pedro because it is during this time that the tourism season tends to decline, there’s a lull. All the rooms were solidly booked, everything sold out, people out there in their stalls selling their products – they did very well.”


Some have argued that a majority of attendees were Belizeans from other parts of the country who flocked to the island for the event and that the profit for government is a paltry sum.  Business owners, on the other hand, say that they would not have realized those profits at this time of year.


Shamike Pennill

Shamike Pennill, Representative, San Pedro Belize Express

“The Belize Music and Food Festival positively impacted San Pedro (Belize) Express. There was definitely an increase we noticed early in the purchasing of tickets heading over to San Pedro.”


John Greif, Owner, Tropic Air

“We were quite surprised in the amount of business that we got in. It was almost exclusively from locals. We had to put on extra flights.”


Polo Ruiz

Polo Ruiz, Owner, Polo’s Gulf Carts

“The business was very, very good because there were a lot of people here on the island and we rented all of our gulf carts and the gift shop, we had people coming in, so that was very good again.”


Blanca Narvaez

Blanca Narvaez, Representative, Pelican Reef Villas

“Our resort was sold out and many of the establishments in town and resorts were pretty much packed.”


Amie Copo

Amie Copo, Owner, Mojito House Restaurant

“The Belize Food and Music Festival affected my business in such a way that I now have more customers from out district.”


Jenny Staines

Jenny Staines, Owner, Elvi’s Kitchen

“This was the first time there was a festival where we didn’t have to pay for the booth and they gave us three passes for our workers. If you needed anymore it was done. We didn’t have to worry about signs, they did it for us free and our menus and it was beautiful.”


B.T.B. says it will use the profits to create an Orange Economy Fund that will bring together Belizean artists, and investments will be made to assist with three music studios in Belize City, Orange Walk, and Dangriga. This is to provide artists with greater access to high quality studios to enhance their craft. In addition, through the assistance of an international consultancy, a strategy will be developed to merge Belizean music and tourism. It is something that the Belizean artists who performed at the event will no doubt appreciate for future events.


Stig Da Artist

Stig Da Artist

“Because of the type of show it was and with the band being very professional, I had the chance to sing songs that people might not know, some songs that I really really like.”


Denise Castillo

Denise Castillo, Belizean artist

“It was a great experience and I just hope that from here it just gets bigger.”


TR Shine

TR Shine, Belizean artist

“We actually built a Belizean segment, so in future references I’d love to see just Belizean artists.”


Brithney Starr

Brithney Starr, Belizean artist

“That experience, I can’t explain how grateful I am, how appreciative I am of that experience and I can’t wait fi do it again.”


There were complaints made about lighting issues, but if the testimonials of the participants quell any of the doubts that people had regarding the success of the festival, then the event is something that we can expect to see again.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“If you are a small country, like Saint Kitts, that can hold a jazz fest with international artists, why can’t we do the same?”


Marion Ali 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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