The Belize Tourism Industry Association held its Bi-Annual General Meeting on Friday, May 27, 2011, at The Villas at Banyan Bay in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye that brought members together in San Pedro.
Members came together from destinations countrywide for a productive meeting. Mr. Ian Lizarraga, 1st Vice President of the National Board, was the Master of Ceremonies and opened the meeting. After an introduction of the Board members, Ms. Julie Babcock, Chairperson of San Pedro BTIA Chapter, gave a short welcome.
The BTIA President, Mr. Jim Scott, gave a presentation on the current focus of the association, with particular emphasis on its strategies moving forward. BTIA will continue its advocacy efforts, representing current issues facing members and the industry on a daily basis. The Treasurer, Mr. Pedro Perez, provided the Financial Update indicating that the financial position of the association has improved significantly, and members and sponsors were thanked for their ongoing support. The Destination and Sector Representatives provided an update on the activities within their destinations and sectors.
The keynote address was given by BTB's Director of Marketing, Ms. Yanick Dalhouse. Her presentation highlighted BTB's overall marketing plan for the current fiscal year, showing comparisons from the previous year. While some traditional marketing will be maintained, the emphasis will be on new online strategies, developing stronger linkages with the travel trade and a new social media strategy.
Ms. Denise Ockey, Chairperson of the Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) 2012 Committee, announced the dates for the next event. BETEX 2012 will be held April 25 - 29, 2012. BTIA also announced its intention to again work with Idea Lab Studios as the event planning company for next year's event. Idea Lab Studios has been involved in BETEX since 2004. The BETEX committee and BTIA Board have decided on the format, which will consist of one centralized tradeshow, with countrywide post-tours. More information will be available after the next committee meeting.
Mr. Demian Solano, Idea Lab Studios' Managing Director, provided an update on Destination Belize, indicating that all is on track for a November 1 publication date. Samples of HD Video work was also shown throughout the meeting. Significant was the announcement by Director of Tourism, Ms. Seleni Matus, of the Belize Tourism Board's decision to invest BZ$70,000 in the project.
Destination Belize is widely supported by the private sector, with 70+ advertisers for the next edition. With this investment, 20,000 additional prints and 1000 additional CD ROMs will available for BTB's distribution in key markets. BTB presence will also be included in all areas of the integrated marketing package, including web, HD video, iPad app, CD ROM and Database marketing.
The last item on the agenda was a closed meeting for members only to discuss the way forward for the private sector and tourism in Belize. This provided members the opportunity to speak privately about concerns and opinions that affect the association.