B.T.I.A. Holds Its 37th Annual General Meeting
The thirty-seventh annual general meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association was held at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel today. It was an event used to reflect on the accomplishments, as well as the shortfalls of 2022 and the plan for the year ahead. Industry stakeholders were present for the event and News Five's Duane Moody was there to capture the dialogue. Here's his report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has been able to grow its membership to over two hundred and forty and counting. These properties within the industry include, but are not limited to restaurants, mom-and-pop businesses or even luxury, boutique properties. And while coming out of two years of surviving the pandemic, there are concerns around building the resiliency of the industry.
Stewart Krohn, President, B.T.I.A.
"It's our first in-person AGM in more than two years, during COVID, so it is always really nice to get people physically in the same spot and really network a little bit. The concerns coming out of COVID have to do more with the rebound in tourism. The industry is back on its feet, but it doesn't mean the industry is not without its problems."
Those concerns were not falling on deaf ears, as those in attendance from the Ministry of Tourism and the Belize Tourism Board were engaged in the discussion - responding to the issues as they were being shared by the stakeholders.
Nicole Solano, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations
"It's important for us to come and to listen and to hear what the issues are. On a regular basis, we have communication with them so today is no different. Indeed, I think generally the tourism industry is very pleased. We've got quite a significant amount of positive feedback in terms of how well things are going with business. We need to look at what are the gaps for 2023. We do have a slow season still, so we are looking September/October, what can do to make sure that we have higher traffic in those months and next high season and beyond."
Among the many issues discussed were accessing agricultural produce, the poaching of human resources from the industry, to BPOs and the need for better access to properties.
"Tourism is impacted by so many areas within government and so many other ministries within government so it is very important for us at the C.E.O. level to be able to communicate and interact on all of these matters. So the minister has established a tourism advisory council that includes the C.E.O.s from the ministries that are most relevant. All ministries are relevant - but some are more relevant and have a more immediate impact that others - agriculture is one of them. Infrastructure development with roads and the blue economy and civil aviation - all of these have direct impact on the tourism industry so we do work closely with them so that when there are issues, we can iron them out and have them resolved easily and quickly and also planning for the future, so that we can avoid issues before they occur."
During today's AGM, Stewart Krohn was re-elected as President of the B.T.I.A. for another term. So what's the plan for the industry?
"The plan is to make a plan. I think something that is characterised tourism is that the industry has grown kinda in spite of itself. Belize has always been very lucky in many ways, but you don’t know when your luck is gonna run out. So one of the things that I emphasized in my address is that we really need to find out what we want. We need to plan and we need to figure out what we want otherwise we are going to get stuck with what we don’t want."