|Participants at the BTIA Bi-Annual Meeting.|
|Kevin Gonzalez, the new San Pedro NEMO Coordinator, explained the importance of businesses working with NEMO. |
Over the past five years, the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), has been organizing their hurricane preparedness seminar. As part of their Bi-annual meeting at the Sun Breeze Hotel here in San Pedro Town on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008, BTIA made it the center of the meeting. The theme for the bi-annual meeting was “Disaster Risk Reduction for Coastal Tourism Destination adapting to Climate Change.” The Marketing and Public Relations Officer for BTIA, Efren Perez told The San Pedro Sun that the bi-annual meeting was basically to give the hoteliers and tourism stakeholders information as to what to do in the case of natural disasters, mainly hurricanes. Perez added that, “there needs to be some kind of process to follow in order to take care of our guests, not to say that we do not have our local people to deal with but we need to know who to call and where to go to have our guests in a safe place.”
Over 50 participants from various resorts were present during the session. The bi-annual focused mainly in having the participants establish a preparedness plan as well as working in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Organization’s (NEMO) emergency planning and network system. San Pedro NEMO Coordinator Kevin Gonzalez told The San Pedro Sun that the support of the private sector is a good one because they play an important role in times of natural disaster. “We need them to understand what to do and get familiar on how NEMO operates so that their emergency plan would be better. But more than that, they need to know how to work with the community, their workers and everyone in times of natural disasters so that we can recover faster.”
Gonzalez explained that it is important for the resorts to be prepared and have an emergency preparedness plan especially now that we are heading into the hurricane season. “As much as we plan and prepare, there is always a need to revaluate our plans and make adjustments. While we need to tighten the communication pipeline, NEMO San Pedro is ready to activate at any time that the need may arise. While we are just coming into the hurricane season we need to keep in mind that we must be prepared at anytime.”
Amongst the presenters were The Belize Bank, E-solutions and Supplies, Atlantic Insurance and SMART. The hurricane season starts on the 1st of June and will run until the 30th of November.