Screen_shot_2012-10-18_at_8.23.14_PMToday the Belize Tourism Board held a workshop at the BSI Staff Club where their 2013-2015 plan of action for the tourism industry was laid on the table. It was a regional gathering that saw the participation of both the Orange Walk and Corozal Tourism Sector. Our news team dropped by the workshop this morning and here is that report.

Hipolito Novelo - Reporting

BTB's 2010/2012 plan of action to promote Belize as a tourism destination was successfully completed. But when it comes to the world of tourism, a country always has to be on its feet in order to compete with other countries. With that in mind the Director of Tourism Laura Frampton met with a number of stakeholders from Orange Walk and Corozal where suggestions were taken for the 2013/2015 national plan of action.

Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism

"A national sustainable tourism master plan has been created and that will take us to the year 2030, so what we are doing is that we are going out to our various zones meeting with our industry partners, letting them know what we have completed and also giving them a glimpse as to how the master plan says we should complete within the next three to five years and we are getting their input on how the BTB can write programs and projects and implement these projects that will be beneficial to the industry while looking at the overall goal of meeting the master plan."

Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism

"We are looking at the marketing department for example, how should the marketing monies be spent, should it be of trade shows or road shows, should it be on advertisements or online presents that kinds of thing, in terms of quality assurance department is beefing up in terms of inspecting properties and the tour operators and what should we expand into, should we go into food and beverage, should we then look at car services, what kind of things do we expand in terms of standards for the industry and also training for the industry, what kind of training does the industry needs, in terms of destination planning that is looking at wider bigger projects for an entire destination, it looks at cruise tourism but in addition to that it look at who we develop products within destinations to bring the tourist to those destinations."

A master plan which Frampton says will benefit Belizeans on a whole.

Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism

"Throughout the country we've been inviting representatives from people who owns and manages hotels, we've also invited tour operators in addition tour guides have been invited throughout the country we also been invited a few tourism instructors particularly in the ITVET systems, because we know we don't operate in a vacuum we also invited the Mayors or representatives of the towns and city councils to be a part of these discussions because a lot of work that we do it also does have that overlap with those of the municipalities and so it is a wide cross section of people that we are targeting."

Hipolito Novelo - Reporter

"Now for many families they would be thinking, how will this initiative trickle down to them?"

Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism

"Well, particularly when we are looking at quality assurance initiatives or even destination planning initiatives, the master plan calls for us to do a real focus on cultural and nature base tourism, we also look at sustainable tourism and sustainable tourism isn't just being green it is how do we involve the community in tourism, how do we ensure for example  w hire people from the vicinity of the hotel or the tour operator, how do we empower the community to really participate so there really is that impact."

But will the 2013/2015 national plan of action see the promotion of each district as a tourism destination? It's a wide gamut project that needs the support of all stakeholders, including political leaders.

Laura Frampton, Director of Tourism

"Because we know we don't operate in a vacuum we also invited the Mayors or representatives of the towns and city councils to be a part of these discussions because a lot of work that we do it also does have that overlap with those of the municipal work." 

Kevin Bernard, Mayor Orange Walk Town

"I am here today again to see the action plan where we as the municipality as Orange Walk could benefit from these plans and to see as a community can come together to push for the initiatives so that we can make Orange Walk a final destination as well, we have a lot to offer in Orange Walk but we need to build that notch we need to come together and different organizations and as the Mayor and the council we want to be partners with BTIA/BTB and all of that stakeholders in the industry and to make Orange Walk a final destination for Belize and for tourist."

Hilberto Campus, Mayor Corozal Town

"We have been working with the BTB, we have the House of Culture which is a perfect example and in which the municipality and BTB participated to bring back the House of Culture and practically has an activity for every week of the year and it has benefitted the community but besides that the discussion here for this action plan for the year 2013/2015 that BTB is bringing forth, well in respect to Corozal Town we are in the process of forming a tourism committee which more than anything else would be in bringing in forth a product that will define Corozal as a destination and again we have the support of BTB so we looking forward to that."

The 2013/2015 national plan of action is scheduled to be launched by January of next year. The workshop moves to San Pedro tomorrow.