BELIZE is featured in an 11 page spread in this May/June issue of Harper's Bazaar Interior, and the introduction to our beautiful country is undertaken by Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow. The issue which features unique establishments and destinations across Belize includes an interview with Mrs. Barrow about her work as an effective advocate for child protection, cancer awareness and various other causes. The Tourism Industry is such an integral part of our growing economy and we will certainly benefit from the exposure Belize will receive being featured in a magazine with the prestige and audience of Harper's Bazaar.
There are many wonderful people to thank; starting with the hotels who immediately bought into the idea and where thrilled to be featured. Thank you to the management and staff of El Secreto, Victoria House, Cayo Espanto and Turtle Inn. Thanks also to the production team: creative Director - Luigi Irauzqui, photographer - Benny Haddad and cinematographer - Laurent Levy. Francesca Dutton and Kelly Mi Li for Skinny Bikini and hair stylist, Daniel Baseggio, thank you! We are also very proud to say that our very own Belizean makeup artist, Vanessa Awe and Joris Hendrik Design were a part of this Belize feature; thank you both. Thanks, of course, to the Belize Tourism Board and a very special thanks to Rue Kothari - Editor of Harpers Bazaar Interior.
Very very special thanks to: Abraham Roffe, Jeff Gram, Martin Krediet, Janet Woolham, Allysa Carnegie, Evan Young, Mick Fleming and Lucy Fleming at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. THANK YOU ALL. Let's celebrate our beautiful Belize!
Major Resorts Capitalize on Harper's Bazaar Interior's Interest in Kim Barrow
Kim Simplis-Barrow's advocacy for special needs and underprivileged children and her brave public battle with breast cancer has drawn admiration from across the globe. It has resulted in numerous requests for features in international publications. Each time such requests are made, she says yes on one condition- that the feature be more about the country than it is about her. Harper's Bazaar Interiors is the most recent international publisher to make such a request and once again, upon saying yes, Mrs. Barrow made sure that the wonders of the country would be showcased in the feature.
It would have been easy for Mrs. Barrow to simply allow them to do a photo shoot and interview in some studio in Los Angeles. Instead, she insisted that the setting for each shoot be one of Belize's many tourist destinations. This is not a condition that publishers regularly would accept. The result of such condition would in effect be leaning the article closer to the category of an advertisement and advertisements in such magazines cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of US$40,000 for a full page spread. The magazine accepted Mrs. Barrow's proposal and changed the angle of its special feature.
Instead of a feature that would have likely been solely on the professional success and philanthropic initiatives of Mrs. Barrow, Harper's Bazaar Interiors released its May/June issue on May 1st with an eleven page spread titled "ISLAND LIFE- At home in Belize with 'First Lady' Kim Simplis-Barrow". The editorial feature encompasses everything that would attract tourists to Belize as the team travelled with Mrs. Barrow to destinations such as Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, Placencia, the Silk Cayes and Ambergris Caye as well as the luxury private island Cayo Espanto. Resorts that are featured include Turtle Inn, Victoria House, El Secreto and Cayo Espanto. Laurent Levy, Harper's Cinematographer, explains that the goal of the feature is to invite people to join "a design, architectural and touristic journey of a lifetime hosted by the First Lady of Belize Kim Simplis-Barrow: from Creole and Victorian Colonial architecture seafront hotels to picturesque thatched Balinese inspired beach Cabanas to uber luxurious private boutique resorts, Belize has it all in terms of luxury, comfort and amenities".
The magazine is sold at about US$7.50 a copy and boasts a regular circulation of 100,000 copies. Its distributed mainly in luxury hotels, spas and high end interior stores in United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East. Its biggest reader base is among those between the ages of 35-54 with an average house hold income of US$95,000. 92 percent of the readers are women. Benefiting tremendously from the exposure are two young Belizeans, fashion designer Joris Hendrik and makeup artist Vanessa Awe, for the excellent job they did preparing Mrs. Barrow for each shoot.
Some sections of the press have raised questions about the cost of such exposure. As said before, one full page ad in such a publication cost in the range of US$40,000. Eleven pages on destinations across Belize would cost US$440,000. How much did Belize pay? Not a cent for the exposure. The Belize Tourism Board and the benefiting resorts split the bill on the cost of shooting in Belize. The Belize Tourism Board spent about US$25,000 and the resorts contributed in kind, valued about US$30,000. The cost was not much more than that of a routine familiarization trip for foreign press teams.
A statement from the Belize Tourism Board reads, "BTB capitalized on a low cost opportunity to feature Belize in an upcoming market that fits the demographics of Belizean visitors, to introduce them to the idea of Belize as a world class, premiere vacation destination."
The magazine was launched locally at the opening of the Belize Tourism Expo on May 7th.