Belize's New Brand & Marketing Agency
(August 12, 2008)
It’s not been widely reported but for the first time in a very long while tourism arrival figures for the month of May were down. The experts say it’s no cause for panic really, but there is a creeping fear that it could be the first sign of a trend. Which is why Belize tourism product and the industry’s confidence in that product is in desperate need of a jump start to raise hopes about sagging arrival figures. And the Tourism Board hopes that signing on with a new marketing firm is that shot in the arm. It’s no lightly made move or slight manoeuvre; it is bold, the last marketing company retained Richartz, Fliss, Clarke and Pope shepherded Belize’s tourism product through the last 10 years, from 1998 to 2008. But with a new government and new realities in the travel and leisure industry, particularly in North America the BTB figured it was time for a change and they introduced that today.
Jules Vasquez Reporting,
Tourism stakeholders of all interests and backgrounds packed into the Cahal Pech Room at the Radisson to hear about Belize’s new brand from its new marketing agency.
Shakira Oxley, Director of Marketing
“BVK came out on top for their creativity, knowledge, skills, and expertise which demonstrated a strong potential to strengthen and refresh the marketing strategies of the Belizean tourism product.”
Santino Castillo, Chairman – BTB
“After dotting our Is and crossing our Ts we are finally managed to embark on a new journey with BVK, our new partner for the next few years.”
And for the next few years, images like these will be the new international face of Belize.
[Clip of promotional video]
And though those images are captured off a projection screen – and needs a serious re-editing to take out the image of Chichen Itza – which is in Mexico – BVK says the images are meant to provide an emotional connection to this destination. The marketing logic is that Belize needs to broaden its appeal to a wider range and type of visitors.
Tracy Panton, BTB Director
“The targeted audience is rooted in a lot of research that has been specifically for Belize through BVK and we feel that we will be able to get a broader cross section of potential visitors to Belize.”
And that logic had success with the Tourism Board.
“A few months ago we invited a branding company to come to Belize to look at the options we had and after lots of consultations with the private sector we felt that we were satisfied with the brand and what we really need to do was reposition the brand in a way that would be meaningful for Belize and we think that BVK would be able to do that for us.”
And all those advantages need to accrue almost immediately. In May for the first time in years, arrivals were down.
Is this a time of crisis or concern, in terms of do they have to turn on the after burners rather quickly?
“Yes they do. We are obviously in a very challenging time. We are looking at recession in the United States, the US is still our greatest source market, and so yes, they will have to push their mettle if you will for us to recover some of the losses we’ve seen because of the economic crisis.”
Jan Frank, Senior Vice President - BVK
“With our experience in the travel industry, we know that people are interested in Belize. We’ve interviewed 16,000 people, we know that they are interested in coming here. We know that the Belizean government is working on partnerships with the airlines so hopefully between our experience in the travel industry and the partnerships with the airlines that we will be able to bring more people to your country.”
And if you ask the hotel owners in this room today, they had better deliver on that promise and fast.
BVK is also the marketing firm for the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean destination with the greatest number of tourist arrivals.http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=11925