"Ambergris -the 'Caye' to Tourism" Gets Great Response at BETEX '96 Tradeshow
Manning the booth at BETEX were (from left to right) Susan Vesala of Changes in Latitudes, Donna Koehnen of the Hideaway, Gach Guerrero of Amigo Travel and Einer Gomez of Ramon's Village.

Members of the Ambergris Caye chapter of the BTIA (Belize Tourism Industry Association) are catching their breath after marketing the island for nearly a week. The chapter manned a booth representing the island's tourism industry at BETEX '96, Belize's first tourism exposition held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza July 24 and 25, 1996. Prior to the opening of BETEX, 20 travel writers were hosted by the BTIA. The writers were hosted by Victoria House and Ramon's Village. Journey's End provided a boat tour of the island and hosted a luncheon. Ann McGlaun and Wil Lala conducted tours of the southern hotels. The SunBreeze Hotel welcomed the writers on their arrival with a complimentary rum punch. In addition to the writers, a group of travel agents also visited the island on a familiarization trip prior to attending BETEX.

The opening night ceremonies, held on the grounds of the Radisson Fort George, were hosted by TACA International Airlines. Several buffet tables featuring lobster, shrimp, seafood and roast pig were available for the several hundred invited guests. Santino's Messengers entertained as the guests dined and enjoyed cocktails on the warm tropical evening.

Governor General Sir Colville Young officially opened the tradeshow. After cutting the ribbon, the Governor General led an entourage of officials and invited guests through the display halls. 72 booths were prepared to introduce the travel buyers to Belize's tourism industry.

Ambergris Caye BTIA, with the assistance of the Belize Tourist Board and the San Pedro Town Board produced a video of the island. The video, narrated by Mini Squires Dowell, captured the audience. Throughout the display hall the music of "La Isla Bonita" could be heard and drew buyers to the Ambergris Caye section. Island resorts, airlines and BTIA purchased 11 booths for the show. Visitors to BETEX had an opportunity to meet island business people and get to know about Belize's number one destination.

BETEX was a first for Belize. It was a tremendous effort and the coordinators are to be commended. Many visitors to the show commented on the quality and creativity of the display booths and rated some of the displays as "better than DEMA". Chaa Creek's booth display included a glass enclosure with Blue Morpho butterfly cocoons on a branch. Visitors flocked around the enclosure watching the butterflies hatch and spread their beautiful wings.

Congratulations to the BTIA for showcasing Belize. Congratulations to Island Air, Tropic Air, Holiday Hotel, Caribbean Villas, Victoria House, Mata Rocks, Belize Yacht Club, Royal Palm, SunBreeze, Journey's End and the Ambergris Caye BTIA for a job well done.

San Pedro Sun

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San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize News