Belmopan, 13 July 2009.- On Saturday, 11 July 2009 the second familiarization trip between Mexico and Belize successfully concluded. This event organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Embassy of Mexico to Belize, included a delegation comprised of 18 Belizean hoteliers, tour operators, media and tourism representatives from the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the Belize Hotel Association (BHA), the Belize National Tour Operators Association (BNTOA) and the Belize National Tourist Guide Association (BNTGA).

The aim of the trip was to promote Quintana Roo and Yucatan as tourist destinations in Belize and vice versa, as was done in the familiarization trip to Belize last year, when Belize was highlighted. Visitors visiting either Belize or Mexico could now be encouraged to prolong their stay and visit both countries. The Belize delegation engaged in a total of 6 business meetings in Chetumal, Mahahual, Bacalar, Merida, Valladolid, and Izamal to interact with key contacts and to network with Mexican hoteliers, travel agents wholesalers and tour operators whom were pleased to meet with Belizean counterparts, offer them more information on Quintana Roo and Yucatan and receive in return more information on Belize.

Merida's tourism sector was keen to renew its relationship with Belize through the Mundo Maya Organization, which they felt was once beneficial for Merida and Belize. The new Maya Island Air flight from Cancun to Belize and the continuous interest from Mexican bus line Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) were also discussed. Maya's flight launch on July 8th could not have come at a more opportune time. These new connections are expected to open new opportunities to promote, market, and link the Mundo Maya region, and will play a major role in developing business opportunities within the region.

The Belizean delegation actively participated in the busy itineraries in Yucatan and southern Quintana Roo. The trip has helped Belize operators to familiarize themselves with some of Yucatan's main attractions, including Chichen Itza, La Hacienda Viva de Sotuta de Peon, Sinkholes in Valladolid and also Quintana Roo's main attractions included Mahahaul, Bacalar and the the Museum of Maya Culture in Chetumal.

For BTIA, sector representatives, hoteliers and the Mexican Embassy, the results of the meetings and familiarization trip were encouraging, receiving positive feedback from participants overall. This trip was conducted as reciprocal cooperation and hospitality in an effort to strengthen tourism ties between both countries, similar to the tour that was held in Belize for Mexican tourism operators last year, where they had the opportunity to tour the attractions throughout Belize.

For more information about the Mexico-Belize trip please contact the Belize Tourism Industry Association at telephone number 227-1144 or E-mail: [email protected] or the Embassy of Mexico to Belize at 822-0406.