A two year plan to market Belize as a top tourism destination was unveiled today. The Belize Tourism Board hopes that despite the global recession, the marketing strategy will attract new visitors and place Belize strategically to compete in the crowded global tourism industry. New programs in destination planning and quality assurance are being given priority in the master plan. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Tourism, Belize’s fastest growing industry and driving force behind the country‘s economy, represents approximately a quarter of its gross domestic product. As a matter of fact, one in every seven jobs is tourism related. It is no surprise then that the Ministry of Tourism and its partner agency BTB have to remain proactive in the development of this sector. The next two years will see a robust action plan being implemented to further promote Belize as a tourism destination on the international market. Today BTB introduced Action Plan 2010-2012 to a host of industry insiders at the Radisson.
Selenie Matus, Director of Tourism, BTB
“As we know [uhm] these are [uhm] very difficult times that we’re in. [Uhm] over the past two years or so there’s been drastic global changes. First of all travelers have really changed the way they look to decide on destinations and plan their travel. We’re also, we’ve also been [uhm] hard hit by the global recession and so this is calling for a different way of looking at issues and responding to it. So from our standpoint it was extremely important at this point in time to shift gears.”
Included in those changes is the appointment of a new director of marketing. She is Yanique Dollhouse, an executive who was recommended for the job by BTB’s public relations firm, BBK, based abroad.
“It’s calling for [uhm] large scale reorganization although we’re working. All the existing staff have a new place in the organization. What they will be doing and how they will be working is dramatically different and we’re also bringing in new skill sets and so individuals with the expertise that we currently don’t have to be able to compete globally. The start of that was the announcement of our new director of marketing here today who comes to us via secondment from our PR agency in the U.S. And the idea is that at the same time and we’ve already started to work on this is identify the Belizean that will understudy Yanique Dollhouse to, over a specific period of time, be able to move in and fill that position permanently.”
According to Matus the buzz around Belize as a tourism destination is ever-increasing and with that comes the need to put strategic plans into effect.
“The interest in Belize continues to grow. [Uhm] additionally, the recognition and the information about our brand is pretty skimpy in key markets and so there is a unique opportunity to do a deep dive to get into those markets with the new strategy that we have that is looking to shift away from your traditional media to more new media because that’s where consumers are and that’s where we’ll find them. And so what we’re really doing is adjusting our marketing mix to be able to meet the demands of today and tomorrow.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.