Our Community - Julia Edwards -"Enjoying the 'Breeze' in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 5            February 3, 2000

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Julia Edwards

San Pedro is called the tourism capital of Belize because of the great amount of visitors that travel yearly to our island. This is due to the island's natural charm and the let-yourself-go ambiance that many experience while vacationing here. Another reason is because people involved in this industry have taken advantage of its natural beauty and used it to market and promote San Pedro. People in the tourism industry strive to keep their clients content, whether they are a tour guide, bartender, hotelier or taxi driver. This week's personality is actively involved in the tourism industry; she is Ms. Julia Edwards.

    Julia was born in Belize City to John and Helen Frampton and was one of only two girls in a family of seven children. She attended and graduated from Holy Redeemer Primary School and then Pallotti High School. Shortly after graduation she moved to England, the birthplace of her paternal ancestors. Her ambition was to become a nurse but because she had not pursued her Junior College education it was more difficult for her to make this a reality. Her next option was the hospitality business. "I knew I needed a job where I would have direct contact with other people," explained Julia.

    Having made up her mind, she immediately got down to business, starting with the basics. She worked in the food and beverage areas first, learning all aspects, finding how much she enjoyed it. This first-hand experience encouraged her to improve her career prospects and she opted to work with larger companies. Julia got her big break in management at Whitbred's Coaching Inns in England. Whitbred's was a chain of some 24 small properties ranging from 22 to 48 rooms. It was there she received the majority of her training, attending various seminars and courses. Julia proved to be an ambitious employee, giving it her best while learning all about the business. With time and experience also came promotions for Julia and eventually she ascended the ladder to the Deputy Manager position. Eleven years passed before she returned to Belize to attend a brother's wedding. What was to be a temporary visit became permanent because of two reasons; one being the mother/daughter relationship that she missed and the other the opportunities that were now available in Belize.

    Julia was confident of her abilities from the training she had received in England and immediately went to work. Her first job in Belize was at the Ramada Hotel (now Princess Hotel & Casino) as the Food and Beverage Manager. Her previous experiences in the hospitality business proved beneficial for Julia and many doors opened to her. After one year at the Ramada she resigned to accept a job at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. Once again the Food and Beverage Manager, she also exercised her talents in all other duties required by the hotel including sales. The shareholders of the Belize Biltmore Plaza also held part ownership at the SunBreeze Hotel in San Pedro and offered Julia the opportunity to manage the place for them. She gave this proposition a lot of thought since it had been over a decade since she last visited San Pedro. Managing a small property was exactly what she had always wanted to do though, so she accepted.

    In September of 1996, Julia officially took over as Manager of the SunBreeze Hotel. Today, three years and four months after, the hotel has blossomed into a top vacation spot in San Pedro. Julia's efforts and dedication to this business are clearly visible. Some of her improvements include the total refurbishing of the rooms, installing a beautiful fresh water swimming pool and four additional rooms. Probably one of the most significant achievements for Ms. Edwards is bringing the hotel's occupancy rate from 40% to 75%. When asked how she managed this, she answered, "By training my employees, maintaining a presence through advertising, establishing good communication with our employees and agents, and continuously improving our facility in any way possible."  Julia takes her job seriously and it is because of her strong belief in the industry that she has been very active serving on the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Belize Tourism Industry Association and presently on the BOD of the Belize Hotel Association. Ms. Edwards, along with the SunBreeze Hotel, has played an active role supporting community and town activities. She believes there are many things we can do for the tourism industry. Her suggestions include to continue the training of our young people and to maintain our island by improving the infrastructure, making sure not to over-develop it. Julia is of the opinion that the future of our island looks promising. She envisions herself living here for many years. She stated, "Both the destination and the hotel have room for continuous growth and improvement. It is exciting and challenging to be a part of that development."

    Today she is exactly where she envisioned herself and is grateful to the people that helped her throughout her life. In closing Julia commented, "I am thankful to my parents for my upbringing. My mom was the caregiver and my father was the driver. This combined the perfect balance and their good examples have made me the person I am today. This is probably the happiest I have been in my life and with my loved one - Steven Card. He has been instrumental and supportive of the challenges I have faced in this career."

    Julia Edwards enjoys a good position today and rightfully so. She has dedicated herself to the tourism business, making sure that our island continues to enjoy the fruits of this labor. She joins other hoteliers and members of the tourism industry ensuring its success in Our Community.

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