I'm glad the BTB is fighting for what belongs to Belize!
Don't know if this is the correct place to post this, but here goes...
For Immediate Release
Belize City, Tuesday, May 30th, 2007
BTB defends Belize’s Patrimony – THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF
It has been brought to the attention of the Minister of Tourism and the Belize Tourism Board that on May 28th, 2007 during the live television broadcast of the 2007 Miss Universe Pageant in Mexico City, to some 1 billion viewers worldwide, Cozumel, Mexico was positioned as “… home to the second largest barrier reef in the world….” This deliberate misrepresentation of the truth has stirred strong local disapproval and international disgruntlement. The Belize Tourism Board shares the expressed sentiments of many Belizeans on such a blatant disregard for the people and country of Belize and is appalled by this gross distortion of the facts.
The Belize Tourism Board is the public-sector organization responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Belize tourism product. We are committed and determined to educate and share with potential visitors and friends, the rich diversity of our culture and the many natural and physical attributes that provide for a truly authentic Belizean experience. We recognize that the 185-mile long Belize Barrier Reef, hugging the entire coastline of the country of Belize is one of the country’s most valuable natural attractions. Offering world class adventure to divers, sports fishermen and snorkel enthusiasts alike, the Belize Barrier Reef has set us apart from our competitors and has served as the foundation for Belize’s vibrant and growing tourism industry. Due to the tireless efforts of the Government and people of Belize, in 1996, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized and designated the Belize Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site.
These and other facts have been shared with the Organizers of the Miss Universe Pageant in a letter addressed to them earlier today, expressing the collective views of the Government and people of Belize. The letter addressed to the Ms. Universe Organizing Committee and copied to the Ministry of Tourism in the host country, requests a formal retraction of this erroneous statement and clarification of the facts to the viewers of the Miss Universe Pageant. Additionally, an international press release will be disseminated to our media partners in the United States and Canada, later today, via the BTB’s Public Relations Agency based in New York. The Ministry of Tourism has made contact with the Embassy of Belize in Mexico City in an effort to secure diplomatic support as well as to formally register the Government’s grave concern on this matter.
‘We are disappointed that the proper protocols were not exercised in this case”, commented the Minister of Tourism, Godfrey Smith. “We will remain vigilant and steadfast in our effort to ensure that Belize receives a formal apology from those who were involved in this most unfortunate incident.”
For more information on development and events in Belize’s tourism industry, please contact the Marketing Department at the BTB at 223-1913, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.travelbelize.org