Julia Edwards elected BTIA president

At the emergency meeting of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) on Tuesday, December 16,1997 20 members of the association elected a new board of directors to serve until May 1998. Using the term election is probably not accurate, as the members volunteered to serve as officers and were endorsed unanimously. The election was necessary due to the resignation of President Einer Gomez who explained last week he had been unable to motivate the board and the membership to participate in the association's activities. Several members of the former board no longer reside on the island. Edwards, who is the general manager of the SunBreeze Hotel will be joined on the new board by Vice Presidents Mary Beissner, Wil Lala and Catherine Paz. The position of secretary will be filled by Brent Kirkwood and Victoria Collins. Carmita Cardenez, Michael Fox and Eddie Halliday Jr. will serve as directors. Melanie Paz is the treasurer and Gach Guerrero is the area representative.

Julia Edwards reported on the bi-annual meeting of the national BTIA which took place on December 13 in Belize City. Of the 219 paid members of the association, less that 30 attended the meeting. The necessary quorum to conduct business was not achieved and members were called to attend so that the meeting could take place.

The resolution to amend the constitution with regard to the use of proxies was passed. The new regulation calls for one proxy per person, written by the person and witnessed by a J.P. A presentation on the Service Best program - a hospitality industry training program was given, and the marketing program funded by a grant from the Belize Tourist Board(BTB) was presented. The $79,000 BTB grant will be used to finance attendance at Airline Breakfast Seminars, on destination brochures and websites for the destinations.

Kelvin Ramanarce, BTIA Membership Services Officer updated the members on current activities:

1. The Hotel Keeper Act which the BTB is currently holding consultations. Draft copies of the Act have been e-mailed to members for their information and comments. The Act limits hotelier's and innkeeper's liability. Please e-mail comments/suggestions.

2. Re-organization of the BTIA - comments, suggestions are needed. Please give some feedback so the association will know how to proceed. This is a membership decision not a board decision. The December newsletter outlines the proposal.

3. The proposed Mexican Free Trade Agreement and Fifth Freedom Rights of Airlines - Remanarce reported that the board has taken a protectionist stand on this issue.

4. BTIA has a booth and is going to DEMA - brochures and marketing material are needed from properties.

5. BTIA is investigating European marketing, specifically France.

6. BTIA is considering attending the World Trade Expo in Lisbon.

7. Correction or additions to the membership directory should be made by January 1. If your address, e-mail etc. are not correct, let them know.

Following an open discussion session concerning a variety of topics including the Tourism Police, litter on the streets and in yards, unlicensed tour guides and marketing of the destination, past president Gomez was thanked for his service and the meeting was adjourned.

Julia Edwards elected BTIA president

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