In more tourism news, today the BTIA officially launched its 12th Belize Tourism Expo - known as BETEX. The international trade exhibition gives Belizean hotels, resorts and tour operators a chance to meet and develop relations with international travel agents. We spoke to BTIA President Osmany Salas, about this event and the importance of setting up a worldwide marketing network for the brand called "Belize"...

Osmany Salas, President - BTIA
"Today this BETEX 2017 is our 12th Belize tourism expo. The whole purpose of this event is to bring its international agents together with Belizean tourism suppliers' service providers. So this BETEX we have over 30 international travel agents hailing from the US, Mexico, Central America, UK, France and a couple other countries. They are here to meet with over 40 tourism service providers, hoteliers and tour operators from all over Belize. Every area of Belize is being represented here today. The international travel agents who we call buyers will be meeting the service providers who we call suppliers during today and tomorrow. The whole idea is for them to set up networks and establish business partnerships to bring more visitors to Belize for overnight stays. The whole purpose is to market Belize and increase our tourism arrivals."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"What was the process in deciding which tour operators, which hotels and resorts came to represent Belize and came to have this marketing opportunity."

Osmany Salas, President - BTIA
"In some ways it was first come first serve basis and we knew what space we had to work with here at the SCA auditorium and we advertised, we reached out to a membership through our ten destination chapters all over the country. We advertised BETEX and people applied online, emailed us, called us, and as so they applied and registered. It was open and available not only to BTIA members but also to nonmembers. BTIA members got a discounted rate and most of the participants are BTIA members. As I said we've got a couple non BTIA members so it was open and every service provider had an equal opportunity to apply to register and be a part of BETEX."

The travel agencies that attended were chosen based on their commitment to marketing Belize to their customer base.

Channel 7


Belize Tourism Expo: Belize to the World

If the numbers for tourist arrivals are anything to go by, Belize hardly needs help marketing the tourism product. But the industry is not one for sitting on its laurels – there are always new visitors to charm, new things to introduce, new ways to make money. The bi-annual Belize Tourism Expo is intended to reach new clients in the press and among international operators interested in selling Belize to the world. News Five’s Aaron Humes stopped by the S.C.A. Multipurpose Center this afternoon.

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Belize’s Tourism Expo is about connections – between holiday-makers and holiday-takers, and between Belize and the world.

John Burgos, Executive Director, B.T.I.A.

“The main objective of the Belize Tourism Expo, BETEX 2017, is to try to create that partnership between local service providers and international agents and by agents, I mean tour operators, destination management agencies, travel agents – all these individuals have specific clientele that they cater to so now they are showing us interest that they want to sell Belize and they want to bring more tourists to Belize. So what BETEX does is to provide that opportunity for them to meet and greet and decide how best they can partner for the future.”

Programme for Belize is better known for conservation than tourism; but according to manager Ramon Pacheco, a presence here helps them with both.

Ramon Pacheco, Manager, Programme for Belize

“Here at the Expo, what people come to do, the clients, the buyers – they come and check out what services we provide; they leave their contact information and then it is our responsibility, our tourism unit will have to follow up with them to see whether  a deal, an arrangement can be made with the client. So today is more of getting to know each other; seeing what type of services the suppliers have, like Programme for Belize and what kinds of services can match with the buyers.”

Reporter

“What kind of clients have you been getting?”

Ramon Pacheco

“A lot of our persons who visit the desk are interested in nature; in bird-watching, in archaeology in general nature stuff, nature activities, so I think we will get a number of good leads from those who visited the booth.”

Among the many resorts dotting the Placencia Peninsula, Larubeya Resort carries a particular vibe and stand-out, according to manager Ed Cardinez.

Edsel Cardinez, Front Desk Manager, Larubeya Resort

“What makes us really stand out is the customer service – untouchable. Especially we have the full works when it comes to all-inclusive reports, hotels as well and also it’s a family vacation too. So we offer single, couple, honeymoon and also a large family.”

Reporter

“In terms of what you’re expecting out of this event?”

Edsel Cardinez, Front Desk Manager, Larubeya Resort

“More business; much more to increase the tourism business in Placencia and the country of Belize so that Belize is actually sold out there, so that we can get more clients from internationally to come and experience what the country has to offer.”

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

The expo concludes on Friday but there are additional press tours for the international scribes early next week.

Channel 5