- Press Release, BTB, Belize City, Belize – July 20, 2011 — The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to give an update on our Belize Travel Road Warrior Program, and we are equally delighted to introduce our new Road Warrior, Ms. Lebawit “Lily” Girma.
Over the last three months, the program has more than satisfied the expectations of the BTB’s 2010-2012 Action Plan; it has literally gone beyond all the borders outlined in the plan. Recording over one million views since its launch in April, the Road Warrior initiative has truly been fulfilling its mandate: helping to aggressively position Belize on the cutting edge of destination marketing through the bold, innovative, and strategic use of blogging and other digital and social media platforms. Since its incipience, the Road Warrior program has gained a place of prominence amidst the thousands of travel-related blogs that exist.
The first milestone - and one of the most critical one at that, is the massive penetration the Road Warrior program has had with respect to increasing awareness about Belize in the online space. Online discussions, postings, and followings on the Road Warrior blogs have been steadily increasing, now sharing an accumulated total of over 1,000,000 views between the BTB’s Facebook; Matador Network; and Megan’s Blog, that of our first Road Warrior. Speaking of its impact in the online space, it’s imperative that we mention the fact that one of Megan Wood’s blog posts was also a featured story on CNN Travel, which created a huge buzz about Belize. Speaking in terms of the project’s quantifiability, her blog, entitled My Bohemian Life, has had over 15,000 views since she started blogging on Belize. She is also making progress in the offline area, evidenced primarily by the fact that some of Megan’s articles will be featured in a few well-known print and online publications in the upcoming months.
Now while the Road Warrior project has blazed the trail for Belize in social media circles, it has also created its fair share of byproducts that has also benefited our tourism industry stakeholders. One of these byproducts was the Social Media Workshops that were held in May this year.
Although Megan Wood, our premiere Road Warrior, wasn’t directly involved in these Workshops, this offshoot provided local tourism stakeholders with up-to-date training on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and general social media strategies that they could employ in their respective businesses.
With top notch instructions from Ms. Julie Schwietert, BTB’s Content Manager and Managing Editor of the Matador Network, there is no doubt that the 135 participants’ capacities and interest in using online mediums have been augmented.
Belize’s Newest Road Warrior
While the first three months have been splendid, at this juncture we would love to introduce you to our second Road Warrior, Lebawit “Lily” Girma, who arrived in country on July 8, 2011. Lily is a published travel photographer and writer. With four languages under her belt and three continents on her “lived-in” list including Africa, Europe and the Americas, her calling is to explore and expose the beauty in foreign lands and cultures.
To date, Lily’s images have been published by Lonely Planet Travel Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, the UK Guardian, the Matador Travel Network, and various travel guides, including “Schmapp!” and Lonely Planet. She has also been commissioned for commercial, website and editorial photo shoots by The Grenada Board of Tourism for the launch of their new site, and 5-star boutique resorts such as LaLuna in Grenada. Her photographs have been sold to various attractions and hotels overseas.
Lily’s focus, while in Belize, will be adventure. Her journey began in Cayo this July, but throughout her stay, she will also have a chance to experience most - if not all, the adventure attractions found throughout the length and breadth of Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret. Continuing on the impetus of our first Road Warrior, we can certainly expect great things from Lily’s work. With that said, please be sure to follow her adventures via her blog.
Lily has been blogging about Belize since July 12, 2011. Are you following her already?
“I am super excited to announce that I’m the next (and second) Road Warrior for the Belize Tourism Board and the Matador Travel Network. For the next three months, I will be based in Belize, working as a travel writer and photographer.
I am the Road Warrior Program’s first photographer (so excited). Through both words and images, I’ll be sharing my next 90 days in Belize with you as I go all around the country. My main theme: adventure travel. Stay tuned to find out what I get into.” - Lily