If you’re not in the tourism business then you probably won’t know what the term “fam” trip means. “Fam” is short for familiarization, and it’s a trip where a property owner or, in this case the BTB takes media or travel agent on a visit to tourism destination to familiarize them with it – so that they can promote it or sell it. Foreign media do “fam” trips in Belize all the time – and every five years or so, the BTB remembers little ‘ole us, the local media. A “fam” trip was organized from last week up to yesterday – and here are some highlights.
Daniel Ortiz reporting
The media travelled to the picturesque, beach front Laru Beya resort in Placencia.
Rene Nunez - General Manager, Laru Beya
"Laru Beya is a Belizean property - that is very clear to anybody who takes a look at Laru Beya. Our developer is Belizean, our staff is Belizean and we are a part of the community. The thing I hear the most and the feedback I get the most from our guest is that Laru Beya is a peaceful, quiet property."
And from there the tour of the south took them to Serpon Sugar Mill near Sitee River. The remnants of a steam powered sugar mill from the 1800’s. It is now just an antique but in the 1800’s this machine ushered in Belize’s industrial era powering by steam - a process that before had had been done manually.
From the cast iron spell cast by that 19th century marvel to next morning where it was dancing on the beach for the media. And also some drumming, led by the Lebeha drummers fresh off a Canadian Tour:
Ronald - Lebeha Drummers
"Basically we're just here drumming to keep the Garifuna culture alive."
And from breezy Hopkins beach to the majesty of a new resort called Sleeping Giant - 17 mile South of Belmopan, take one look at this view and you’ll know how it got its name. Tucked in the Sibun River basin, Sleeping Giant says they are looking for local visitors:
Emerson Castillo - General Manager, Sleeping Giants
"Locals are welcomed here, we would offer the food with the package of the room so when you do book a room you get breakfast or lunch included. We have very reasonable rates comparing to the rooms - our rooms are very nice and the rates are very affordable; also the tours that we include in our package, meals and also the beach. A lot of locals haven't been here before - they pass by and see the sign and we're ten miles in - right now we're doing half price for locals for rooms and also for meals and drinks"
A deal for locals, but on this weekend the local media stayed free.
“Fam” trips are all – expenses paid.