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08/13/08 11:40 AM
08/13/08 11:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,838
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

August 12, 2008

The Belize Tourism Board today introduced a newly contracted marketing agency for Belize. With the election of a new Board of Directors and the private sector, it was decided that Belize needed to seek out a new marketing strategy. B-V-K is the new marketing and communications agency now tasked with attracting new visitors to the country. Director of Tourism, Tracy Panton says that the Board invests about 8 million Belize dollars in marketing every year which is about 50 percent of their budget.
Tracy Panton, Director of Tourism, Belize Tourism Board

“BVK will be representing us in North America, in the United States and in Canada which is still our largest source market for tourism to Belize, so we are excited about that. A lot of the recommendations BVK is making to the industry is based on solid research and studies that have been done specifically to Belize and so it helps us to target our audience more effectively and certainly have a greater return on our investment. Unless people know about the country and develop an interest to visit the country we certainly cannot grow the tourism market.”

A seven member team of BVK is currently in the country experiencing the tourism product that they will in turn have to sell to the millions of travelers they target in North America, the US and Canada. Yanick Dalhouse is a Supervisor in the Public Relations Department of BVK.

Yanick Dalhouse, Supervisor, Public Relations Department, BVK

“We really see BVK being able to work with the BTB and all the private sector individuals to help encourage more tourists to come to Belize by directly targeting them. We have done a lot of research to identify who our targets really are. We talk about the mainstream group and really these are key individuals who want an experience like Belize, want the adventure, want to learn something new, looking for something experiential and at the end of the day want to go to resorts that offer all of the amenities that all of the properties here offer. And I think what we are going to be working on and it’s a continual process is directly targeting those individuals through our creative advertising, our traditional forms of communication, making ads that directly speaks to them. In terms of public relations, our goals are to target the publications, the journalist that are speaking to these individuals with very solid story ideas that can help them express and really vocalize what it is to experience various aspects of Belize.”

Shakira Oxley Tsai is the Director of marketing and public relations at the Belize Tourism Board. Tsai says the work that BVK will be tasked with is key to the operations carried out by the BTB in an effort to maintain and or improve on the product.

Shakira Oxley Tsai, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, BTB

“They are going to be responsible for ensuring that Belize gets greater publicity in the International Market place. So they are going to be building a relationship with the international press editorially as well as ensuring that we have a presence in the different magazines that we are targeting and generate greater interest for the destination as a tourism vacation spot. I think it is very key to the different operations that we do here because the greater the awareness of the destination, more people are aware of Belize as a possible option for vacationing then that means that we are a little bit more in their minds and so Belize becomes a realistic possibility for them to vacation. When it comes to the tourism industry we look at the support of the private sector and the public sector and what happen is that it was agreed that there had to be greater emphasis on the marketing of the destination.”

Over the past ten years, international marketing for the country was being done by Fliss, Clark and Pope. The Belize Hotel Association also took the opportunity to introduce the Belize Hotel Guide for 2008/2009. Copies of the guide will be distributed to tourism stakeholders and marketing agencies in country and internationally.

08/13/08 11:44 AM
08/13/08 11:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 74,838
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
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.

Tracy Panton,
“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.

Jules Vasquez,
Is this a time of crisis or concern, in terms of do they have to turn on the after burners rather quickly?

Tracy Panton,
“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.

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