Friday 2nd July at the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom, the Belize Hotel Association held its bi-annual general meeting. The event resulted in a paradigm shift in the way BHA serves its member. The event also gave new impetuous towards increase private & public collaboration in the promotion of the Belize Tourism Product through the Belize Hotel Association Global Marketing Initiative whose ultimate goal is attracting visitors to the jewel.

The day started with a fabulous rendition of the national anthem of Belize presented by Burrell Boom student Alia Bevans with the presentation of the flag by the Scouts Association. This was followed by a prayer and then President of the Association, Doug Thomson, owner of Black Orchid Resort, gave a powerful and uplifting welcome address.

In his address Mr. Thompson made note that the association had taken great strides in the last two years and is poised to have its' work greatly benefit all tourism stakeholders in Belize. He praised the tireless work of the volunteer board who have made giant strides in the last 2 years to make changes which brought a positive end result not only to members but to every tourism entity in Belize, through it's efforts.

A key note address was given by Seleni Matus, Director of Tourism for the Belize Tourism Board, in which she gave a review of her first 70 days in office and during which she applauded the BHA for it's marketing initiatives and the strength between the two organizations in promoting and marketing Belize in International markets. CEO of the Ministry Michael Singh was also in attendance.

A financial review was given and underlined the precision with which the accounting of the organization is done, Robin McCutcheon, Association Treasurer, emphasized the total transparency of the association and how every single cent is accounted for and that members are free to inspect the figures and accounts at any time.

Teresa Parkey and Nick Davies gave an in depth presentation on the marketing activities undertaken in 2008/9 and 2009/10 and outlined the assertive plans for 2010/11 , which includes presenting Belize in over 30 international trade and consumer shows in 9 different countries. The morning session closed with a "tongue in cheek" 10 minute movie starring board members and using a James Bond theme during which they delivered a strong marketing message. The movie was made by Shamax Productions /Plus TV of Belmopan.

Just before lunch, some members stood up from the floor to support the efforts of the association and explain the benefits their own businesses had experienced from the marketing efforts and those who stood up all suggested the present crowd members and non members to waste no time in signing up for this years marketing activities. Among those supporting the marketing efforts from the floor were Julia Edwards of Sunbreeze hotel and Suites, Julie Babcock from Caye Casa, Steve Maestre of The Great House and Herbert Haylock of Programme for Belize.

In-between the sessions members were able to sample products made available by local sponsors: The Added Touch, Running W meats, BRC Printing, and Atlantic Bank Ltd.

After a delicious lunch at the Black Orchid the members resumed the meeting with a presentation of the new membership dues structure by Mike Preston and Teresa Parkey, There were many questions about the changes and these were allowed until there were no more questions from the floor.

Miss Ali Flota and Elena Cuellar handed out awards to those who had supported the marketing initiatives since 2008 and these went to: Border Management Agency, Belize Tourism Board, Brothers Habet, Tropic Air, PACT, NICH & Kate Morton of Hickatee Cottages.

Sandra van Noord and Mike Song of "Nuevo" gave a very succinct explanation on the direction of the new dynamic website with booking tools that is being developed in the coming months.

Einer Gomez and Robin McCutcheon gave away some great raffle prizes and then President, Doug Thompson, delivered the unanimous results of the voting. 48 for 3 against from item one and 48 for 2 against and one abstained out of 51 for from item two. This now means that the association year will run from 1st July to 30th June in line with the show season and membership accepts the new band rating system to assess what hotels will pay to be a part of the membership. Allied members will be able to choose and pay what they like for membership with a bronze, silver, gold and platinum level membership possibility.

Mariam Roberson closed the event with some summary words on the days presentations and key points and vote of thanks to the Black Orchid for its gracious complimentary hosting of the event in its newly opened function suite. The BHA bi annual was the first event in the new room.

Belize Hotel Association is a not for profit organization in Belize that was established in 1974. One of the main purposes of the association is to promote its membership through international marketing. In addition the association offers member to member benefits, on line booking engine, dynamic website presence and a voice to Government. The association has presently 173 members 144 hotel members and 29 allied members. It has one full time paid administrator, Bernard Codd and 10 volunteer board members. Doug Thompson (President), Einer Gomez (Vice President) Ali Flota (2nd Vice President) Robin McCutcheon (Treasurer) Mike Preston (Secretary) and Directors at Large : Mariam Roberson (former President) Teresa Parkey (former President), Elena Cuellar, Sandra van Noord and Nick Davies

The association has several smaller committees that operate and report to the main board which are: Marketing (chaired by Nick Davies) Finance (chaired by Robin McCutcheon) and Membership ways and means (chaired by Mike Preston).

The association works very closely with tourism industry partners Belize Tourism Board, Belize Tourism Industry Association, Belize National Tour Operators Association.

The association is open to new members and can be contacted as follows:

Belize Hotel Association
13 Cork Street / PO Box 2840 - Belize City
Phone: 223 0669 / 671 0669
Fax : 223-1328

Live and let live