Belize City, Wednesday, October 15, 2003Belize had a distinct presence in Miami, Florida at one of the more decisive trade shows of the year over the past week, Wednesday October 8thSaturday October 11th, as the Belize Tourism Board, in partnership with a delegation comprising numerous private sector representatives, had the opportunity to represent Belize at the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show.

The DEMA show, which prides itself on being the “world’s premier trade exhibition for professionals in the scuba diving, snorkeling, ocean sports and adventure/dive travel industries,” hosted a total of more than 800 exhibitors, featuring their products, whether it be destination or actual commodity, from the world over. The show days ran from 10 in the morning until 6:00 p.m., save for Saturday’s show which closed at 5. An unprecedented figure of more than 15,000 attendees was recorded. This group of visitors, composed specifically of professionals in the diving/water sports and travel industry, was representative of just about every continent.

Show highlights included booth exhibits, introduction of new diving apparel and gear through the New Product Showcase and DEMA fashion show and gift giveaways to promote one’s product - an opportunity of which Belize fully availed itself. Uniformly draped tables and colorful 30-foot Belize hanging banners further embellished our pavilion. Attending organizations from the public and private sectors raffled free vacation accommodations and offered souvenirs/tokens and local products. An abundance of information on Belize, highlighting the country’s marine and inland attractions, was also disseminated.

“Belize has a wealth of natural attractions to offer prospective visitors and in this case divers. We have three of the Caribbean’s exclusive four atolls and the world’s second largest barrier reef - a fact of which many are aware but the idea is working at ubiquity, ubiquity of information, comments Director of Tourism Tracy Taegar. “We have a responsibility to take the information out there, make it accessible. Our attendance at the DEMA Show is part of a strategic plan to bring Belize to the forefront within the dive market.”

Participating establishments included Hamanasi Jungle Resort, Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connections, The Inn at Robert’s Grove, Ramon’s Village, Belize Hotel Association (San Pedro), Turneffe Flats, Ambergris Divers, Tropic Air, Sea & Explore, Reefs End Lodge, Blackbird Caye Resort, Exotic Caye Beach Resort, Maya Island Air, Amigos Del Mar, Aqua Marina Suites, Rum Point Inn and ProTech Belize Limited.

The DEMA show 2003 celebrated its 26th anniversary and took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Representing the BTB were Marketing Officers Ms. Melecia McDougal and Ms. Eva Hyde.