Electing New Board Members, Launching New Membership Structure And Enhanced Web Presence - The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) introduced and ratified a new membership rate and category structure at its Annual General Meeting on December 1, 2011. The new membership structure was created in an effort to reduce the category options from 39 options to a simplified version of only 9. Also, a new category was added of Associate member to allow employees of BTIA members as well as students of tourism to join the Association and become part of a fast growing industry. BTIA Board Secretary, Mr. Rob Hirons told attendees that the new structure was created in a manner as fair and transparent as possible for all members.
At the AGM, BTIA President Jim Scott answered the question, "Why should I care about tourism?" Scott told members of tourism's significant contribution to the nation's GDP adding that one third of the Belize's economy revolves around tourism. In addition to economic facts, Scott also said that for many stakeholders in the industry, the pride for Belize is a gift to share with visitors.
Mr. Scott also underscored Belize's tremendous potential with Central America as part of the Federations of Chambers of Tourism (FEDECATUR) and the organizations active yearly participation at the Central American Travel Market (CATM), a show organized by the private sector organizations within Central America including BTIA.
Guest speaker Mr. Evan Pulliam - Creative Copywriter, Edelman Group, highlighted the importance of "Story-Telling", the #1 marketing technique for Belize. Pulliam highlighted that everyone has their own story and made comparison between a story-telling and a strand of rope, Pulliam said "that in order to have a great story line one need to ensure that all lose ends are tied so that we can ensure we grasp the attention of our readers".
Special reference was made on Destination Belize Magazine a publication that for the first time was published locally and included various local contributing writers that highlight the Belize experience to the visitors.
The meeting also included the elections of members to the Association's Board of Directors; new additions include; 2nd Vice President, Mrs. Valerie Woods, Secretary, Mr. Rob Hirons and Treasurer, Mr. Pedro Perez in addition, BTIA President, Jim Scott also introduced the new Executive Director - Efren Perez.
The AGM was preceded by a Sponsor's Cocktail honoring stakeholders who have played a major role in advancing the BTIA during 2011. The event - themed Maya 2012, was held the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina in honor of our most esteemed sponsors to the Association during 2011. Industry stakeholders and members were amongst the special invited guests who partook in the evening's festivities.
The Maya 2012 Sponsors cocktail, one of the first events of its kind, presented awards of acknowledgment to outstanding sponsors courtesy of Neon Plastics Limited. The Atlantic group of companies, BTIA's diamond sponsor, received the first award of the night in recognition of their continuous financial sponsorship to the Association; IdeaLab Studios, The Belize Bank Limited, Belize Telemedia Limited, the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Tropic Air were also recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Association and Industry.
The night's entertainment included: music by Mr. Salustio's Marimba group, video presentations by our sponsors and cocktails courtesy of Bowen & Bowen, Premium Wines and Spirits and Cuello's Distillery Ltd. Everyone present also had the opportunity to also be a part of the auctioning of prize packages donated by Chabil Mar, Chaa Creek and Maruba Resort Jungle Spa.