Marion Jones: Taste of Belize
The first thing that comes to mind when the Marion Jones Stadium is mentioned is sports, but how about food? And we aren't talking about the snacks and fast foods that are sold at a tournament. Nope, we are talking about Belizean cuisine. From now on, It won't be only sporting events that are held at the stadium, that is because a section of the Stadium is being transformed into a mini tourist destination in the city, where tourists can drop by on a tour and sample Belizean dishes. Today at the City Tastes of Belize tour launch we found out how this idea came about and what it means for tourism and sports in Belize.
Ritchell Dominguez, Dir., National Sports Council
"We are looking for great things to come out of Marion Jones. it has been sitting here for a couple of years locked up but this is time that we can change it and change it for good in using it as a museum to generate funds for our needed sporting in Belize."
Joe Montejo, Belize Caribbean Tours
"Mr. Ritchell Dominguez, as he said in his speech, is a very good friend of mine. One day he said 'Joe I would like to speak to you about something important'. When I went to see him, he said that one day he was standing and two vans came full with guests and he noticed that the guys were pointing at the building sharing information and the vans turned and went away. he said 'Joe I need an idea of how to get those guests in this building' and I said 'Mr. Ritchell you could not have picked a better time to tell me this information', because at this point the Belize Caribbean Tours is looking for a venue to host a food tasting part of the city tour. We want to enhance our city tour and incorporate food tasting because as a guide for many years, one of the questions that I get a lot from our guests is 'what are you guys' local food?' I would explain to them the rice and the beans, the stew chicken, the sere, the boil up and then the second question which would come after would be 'where can we get some of these foods today?'."
"When tourists come they can find the local dishes, rice and beans, and the white rice and stew beans at any local restaurant, but what's different about this experience? why would they come here as compared to go sit and have a nice lunch at Nerie's for example at our local restaurant?"
Joe Montejo, Belize Caribbean Tours
"The difference is that the tour name itself is called 'City Taste of Belize', so it's not only food tasting, but when we start the city tour, you get a taste of the history of Belize. When you come to Marian jones, you get a taste of sports, we're going to tell you about some of our athletes, what they have accomplished for our beautiful country and then also you're going to get a little taste of wine, maybe some rum, it's a tasting. So our idea is taste of everything that we have to offer."
Dennis Hislop, Belize Caribbean Tours
"Belize Caribbean Tours, we are partners when it comes to sports. The Marian Jones Sporting Complex is a tour by itself because many people come from abroad just to see a stadium and our beautiful hall of famers that we have there. So why not tie in our ethnic groups? Because if you look at our hall of famers, they are all from ethnic divisions, they are all different people. So we decided to have a tour where you will be able to view the hall of famers and at the same time, taste the food of their own ethnic groups."
There was a separate session for tourists to come and experience this new space. The project is spearheaded by The National Sports Council and Belize Caribbean Tours.