The Belize Tourism Board Quality Assurance team has been travelling around the country over the last 3 days offering a series of hospitality rallies - in an effort to motivate and inspire tourism professionals all over the country as they all get prepared to enter the tourism high season.

Facilitator of these Rallies is Ian Maksik, from the United States, who is known as America's Service Guru and is famous as a professional trainer, lecturer, keynote and motivational speaker for the hospitality industry.

Today was the tour's final day and a rally was held in Belize City at the Memorial Park where persons from throughout the tourism sector including hotels, tour operations, transportation services, restaurants as well as tourism students attended.

Laura Esquivel Frampton, Director Quality Assurance, BTB
"This is the 4th year that the Belize Tourism Board has hosted a cruise rally. What we normally do is bring together those service providers in the cruise industry and we try to get them hype, ready for the start of the high season."

"This year we change it up a little bit, we actually took the show on the road, so we've been to San Pedro, Placencia, Dangriga and San Ignacio before we ended up here. We also decided to change it from the usual format where we had a lot of speeches and maybe us telling them what the rules are in the zone and we brought Mr. Ian Maksik, who is a customer service guru and he just stood up here talking about his personal experience giving them ideas and letting them know what really the tourist is thinking from a foreigner's perspective - what it is that impresses them? What it is that will let them come back again? What it is that will make them go back to their friends in the US and say 'you need to come to Belize because I had such a great time.' So really what we did here today was a customer service hospitality training in the form of a rally."

Ian Maksik, America's Service Guru
"Today was supposed to be a rally so I didn't follow what I had. I had 46 slides ready. We just handle people to people, as people came in we shook hands and I weighted them on my handshake because psychologist have found that first impressions are very important especially people coming into this country and the first impression is shaking hands and you smile and how you look. We shook hand and we had a few LFs (limp fishes), we had FS (firm shake) that's means you have confidence. We had a couple of hand warmers (means 2 hands) Hand warmers is usually when you come out of a church because he is probably your family and he is loving you legitimately and you love him so he puts two hands on. The other people who do hand warming are the politicians, some of them are sincere, some of them aren't but they are going to shake with two hands because they want you to vote for them."

"There are persons who shakes like this which means keep your distance, I don't want to be that close and we then told people about themselves and by the end those people who with limp fishes became at least firm shakes and some of them bone-crushes, so it showed me that with just a little time here it gave them confidence. Our message today is don't depend on anyone else to do something. We told them that the word no means "show me" we wanted to them all to know only "Yes" and everybody said yes to everything - that you don't have to rely on BTB. In all the countries I've been to I have never found anyone like BTB and what they are doing for this country but I don't want people to rely upon them, I want them to do it themselves and I told the story about how we started in the business with my father borrowing $300 and building a little hot dog stand in Brooklyn into the largest night club in the world and how I went to Calle Creek yesterday and met Mick, I didn't meet his wife and how he started by borrowing $300 and after 25 years of work he turn Calle Creek into one of the outstanding hospitality resort location in the world through hard work."

This is the 4th year since BTB has held a Tourism Rally in Belize City.

Channel 7