The Diver's Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA) annual show was held recently in New Orleans. Several business owners from San Pedro, the mainland and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) attended the five day show. The overall opinion was that it was a great opportunity to promote and market Belize in light of the bad publicity which was received as a result of Hurricane Mitch.
Mr. Jeffrey Avilez of the BTIA booth stated the most frequently asked question was how Belize was fairing after the hurricane and was there a lot of damage. The common misconception was that we were directly hit by the hurricane. The main concern to divers was how it affected our barrier reef. He assured the masses that Belize is still very much on the map. Ms. Melanie Paz of Amigos del Mar also attended and agreed that there were concerns as well as a lot of interest in Belize. She told the San Pedro Sun, "We have already received bookings for January from the show and February and March look good too."
Maya Island Air's Nando Trejo told us, "the majority of people use it for contacts and a chance to meet with their suppliers, but it was a good way to lay fears to rest about the state of Belize after the hurricane."
The overall general consensus was that DEMA was a success for businesses and the welfare of tourism in Belize.
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