Members and stakeholders of the Tourism sector met at the IT-VET campus for the Belize Hotel Associations' Annual General Meeting. THE BHA which is a marketing arm of the Belize tourism Board presented its review of the past year. Outgoing President Douglas Thompson spoke with Love News.

Douglas Thompson; Outgoing President, Belize Hotel Association

"BHA has had a very productive 2010 in terms of our achievements as an organization and we are very optimistic that even though the world economy hasn't fully rebounded that Belize will benefit from the marketing efforts that the BHA took along and in conjunction with the BTB around the world."

Dalila Ican, Reporter

Tell us more about this collaboration in marketing Belize. I understand that that is really the goal particularly for BHA.

Douglas Thompson

"BHA's reason to exist is marking, no question about it that is our number one function. We work in conjunction with the BTIA in advocacy but as an organization BHA is a marketing organization. We presented a marketing plan to the BTB earlier in the year which called for some significant investment on their part to help us to marker around the world along with significant investment from the hotels themselves so that two thirds of our reach the world was paid for by the hotels and the other one third by BTB. It is a financial help to us and they invited us to become an actual partner with them and we have embraced that and we now consider ourselves partners with the BTB in marketing Belize."

Thompson says that their outlook for the future is consistent marketing.

Douglas Thompson

"Well we put together a brochure that has all our member hotels. For the first time this book, this is the third time we are doing it, prior to this year it was a pay to play system. We converted it from a pay to play system to a benefit. In doing so we had to increase the dues significantly to our member hotels but with the increased dues they are marketed automatically around the world. They do not have to pay to be marketed anymore. In the past they paid a membership fee and then they would pay again to be marketed. Now, we have increase the dues that incorporates marketing as a natural part of the benefits that comes from the BHA."
With the economy that hasn't fully rebounded, the BHA says that in 2011 tourism business should see an increase and that there is a level of sustainability for businesses that market themselves.

Douglas Thompson

"Well our slow season this year was slower than normal and that is direct result of the world economy. We have seen that with the start of the high season that there is an optic in the number of tourists that are coming to Belize and we  believe that in 2011 we will be way ahead of where we were in 2009 and 2010, there is no question. If we market as a country we have a tremendous product to sell. We have the hotels to accommodate, we have enough rooms to accommodate and it is only a matter of getting the word out through marketing so that we can attract more people to Belize."

Elected to serve on the new board are: president Doug Thompson; vice president Einer Gomez; second vice president Elena Cuellar; treasurer Robin McCutcheon and secretary Herbert Haylock. Directors are: Teresa Parkey, Nick Davies, Sandra van Noord, Crystal Dean and Joanna Arellano.