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Aug 26, 2022

B.T.B.’s 7th Digital Marketing Summit

Today at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City, stakeholders within the tourism sector, as well as private sector businesses and N.G.O.s, gathered for the seventh Digital Marketing Summit organized by the Belize Tourism Board.  It started off as an event to build the capacity of tourism stakeholders and their online footprint, but has now expanded to include various sectors.  The COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the benefits of having an online presence. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Perry Bodden Jr.

Perry Bodden Jr., Digital Marketing Strategist, Belize Tourism Board

“It’s an ever-changing world and everybody wants to keep updated with social media, digital marketing, strategy, video marketing. Video is very huge right now especially in this era so everybody wants to keep updated. So our main goal is to keep everybody updated and at the end of the day, we want to increase the overall digital footprint for t Belize as a country, as a destination.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

The seventh digital marketing summit included presentations by experts in all aspects of online marketing – from developing to maintaining an online presence and most importantly content.  Among the presenters was Lebawit Lily Girma from the travel industry news site, Skift. Founded in 2012, Skift provides market research and marketing services to the travel industry.


Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma, Editor-at-large, Skift

“Tourism has come back and it has come back really ferociously. It is extremely competitive and for Belize to stand out, they have to embrace new ways of presenting the product. To really capture the audience these days, you have to be a hundred percent creative, authentic and you have to give people context because it is all about what we call at Skift the hyper-localisation of travel. Travellers want to be fully immersed, they want what’s real, they want to connect emotionally. And that’s the future, the tourism industry’s future is to connect with people on a more emotional level after the last two years.”


Also speaking at today’s summit was Google’s Senior Account Manager Shamara Valdez Rubio. She says that the research shows that travellers have been looking up Belize and they want to immerse in the country’s cultural diversity by looking for that authentic experience.


Shamara Valdez Rubio

Shamara Valdez Rubio, Senior Account Manager, Google New York

“How important shopping locally has become for consumers and so when we are thinking about the travel industry, how do we make sure that if you are a family-owned business, if you offer unique local cultural experiences, that’s what people are searching for nowadays and so like how we make sure that we are communicating that to people. I was sharing data on searches for trends in Belize from the U.S. and from Europe – both which have grown – and it indicates that the traffic will remain steady. But it is also about the growth is there, the search is there, how do we capture it? So I think that’s where there is opportunity for us. Local travel in Belize, things to do in Belize is what I found in my searches, but I think local aspect is what is starting to be highlighted more.”


You’ve seen the Belikin ads that capture authentic Belizean experiences while enjoying a cool refreshing beer. It’s what you do and how you do it that leaves a lasting impression on a client – be that a traveller or a customer.


Jason Badillo

Jason Badillo, Brand Specialist, Sakkisime & Co. Creative Agency

“My main point is for these marketers and storytellers to be authentic. That’s what we base our stories on with Belikin – authenticity, being real, being Belizean. And personally that’s what I like to base my stories on as well. We all have our own stories, we all live our own lives, but it’s your story so it is authentic.”


…and for those who are still hesitant about the various social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, Ashleigh Hardin-Jones from Zimmerman Agency says that the COVID-pandemic saw the birth of a large number of online businesses.


Ashleigh Hardin-Jones

Ashleigh Hardin-Jones, Senior Social Media Strategist, Zimmerman Agency

“You have all those platforms. So find one and choose one and figure out which one works best for you but it is definitely important to have that social media presence because that’s where everyone is now. Everyone’s gravitating towards digital. It is easier to access; they don’t have to read a lot. Websites are still important, but you want to have that extra piece for those people who are on that platform and just being able to expand your reach.”


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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