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The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has officially launched its new Belize Travel Road Warrior Program which is another part of BTB’s 2010-2012 Action Plan. This marketing initiative helps to aggressively position Belize on the cutting edge of destination blogging.

“As many of you know, blogs are one of the most utilized online sources for travelers seeking information on destinations around the world,” stated Seleni Matus, Director of Tourism, Belize Tourism Board in a release. “In fact, recent studies have shown that individuals who are planning vacations are more likely to trust the stories, recommendations, and experiences of friends, relatives and other travelers more than they trust traditional marketing mediums such as advertisements and brochures.”  

Recognizing this, the BTB is moving forward with a number of online marketing initiatives. The Road Warrior program is not only designed to help Belize embrace and keep up with the evolving online marketplace, but it is also geared towards helping the BTB generate more online “buzz” about Belize as an exciting travel destination.

“We are confident that this initiative will provide us with more edge that will assist us in establishing a prominent presence for Belize in the global travel market,” continued Seleni Matus.

The BTB’s goal is to secure a fast-growing blog following within a short window of time. That is why they have developed the dynamic “Road Warrior” blogger partnership with MatadorU, a prominent school for travel writers.

The Matador Network averages about 2.3 million page views monthly. Of that number, over 75% of these loyalists are between the ages of 25 and 50, and have an average household income of over $100,000. Moreover – and probably most importantly – 80% of them describe themselves as adventure tourists, fitting perfectly well into our adventure tourism target market.

The program started on April 7, 2011, and continues for one year. The most exceptional graduates of MatadorU’s travel writing and travel photography courses will be selected for exclusive long-term assignments that will bring them to Belize and immerse them in the country’s culture at ground-level.

This one?year collaborative effort will see a total of four MatadorU bloggers, at three?month stints, base themselves in our country and blog ful?time about our incredible tourism attractions. Each student who is selected to be a “Road Warrior” will identify a specialized subject of expertise to develop during the course of their stay in Belize, and they will share their experiences and knowledge with readers and viewers through multi-media projects presented on MatadorNetwork, the Belize Road Warriors blog, their own blog sites, as well as on the BTB’s site.

Seleni Matus also states that the agreement allows BTB’s Belize?based bloggers in training to work along with these talented young writers from the Matador Network, who already have their own established blogs and growing blog followings; and with the help of Matador, they’ll also pitch story ideas to other online or print magazines.

“We have also negotiated with MatadorU to offer scholarships to our very own Belizean writers who would like to study at MatadorU to build Belize’s own capacity in travel writing,” stated Seleni Matus. “The Matador Network has also agreed to offer discounted rates to our stakeholders that have their own blogs or would like to train their own employees in the art of travel blogging. These are exciting facts, because both the former and latter arrangements are geared towards equipping Belizean writers with top-notch training and experience in the field; thereby solidifying the foundations of our own national blogger base.”

The first blogger, Megan Wood, is already in Belize. She has begun her journey into the rich mix of Belizean cultures, such as the Garifuna, Mennonite, Creole and Mestizo. So far Megan, via the Maya home stay program, has delved into the mysteries of the Maya culture; experienced the wonders of the Garifuna culture, punctuating that chapter with a one-on-one interview with the Belizean legend, Paul Nabur; and dabbled in the uniqueness of the East Indian tradition.

Megan, a 27?year?old free spirit and true bohemian, has truly thrown herself heart?and?soul deep into everything Belizean. To get a more detailed look at her inspiring stories about “Being One With Belize,” you can follow her journey on www.mybohemianlife.com.

Megan’s first blog post on April 11, reads like this:
“I am proud to be the first official Road Warrior in Belize. Starting today, I will be spending the next three months traveling through Belize, focusing on culture and the many different indigenous and ethnic groups currently living in the country. My blog will be updated regularly with loads of stories, adventures, and photos. For now, if you have any advice, tips, or Belize expertise you would like to share, send me an email. I can’t Belize I’m here. Sorry, I had to get one in. I can’t help it, I’m excited!”

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Dorian Nuñez

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