The Belize Tourism Industry Association hosted a successful 30th Annual General Meeting on December 3, 2015, at the Ramada Belize City Princess. The event was the culmination of the organization 30th anniversary celebrations.
The main objective was to update the membership on the Association's accomplishments during the past year and update the membership of the new goals and plans for 2016. The AGM provide the official forum that allowed members to dialogue on current issues, challenges and concerns. The officials and audience in attendance included the BTIA President and the Board inclusive of Destination Chapters Chairpersons', Sector Stakeholders and invited guests from the private and public sector.
Mr. Hugh Riley, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Tourism Organization was the honorary guest speaker. He emphasized the importance of working collectively in delivering superior customer service to our guests as the region becomes more competitive and progressive in the world of tourism.
Mr. Riley expressed that: "There is no limit to the ideas involved in turning visitors into friends, and friends into brand champions. As a people we must use our imagination to apply all the tools available to us, to deepen and strengthen our stake in this industry. Working together will produce success. So we must never lose sight of the far-reaching power of the people resource when an entire population joins an effort."
Mr. Riley quoted Ken Blanchard, the American author and management expert: "None of us is as smart as all of us." In essence, Mr. Riley expressed that "In short, we're all - every single one of us in this region - involved in this industry in some way. The minute we accept that tourism is the business of the region, that tourism delivers the foreign exchange that services our debts, that develops our infrastructure, that educates our citizens, that improves our lives, that drives our economies - then we must accept our responsibility to take turns at being in the driver's seat."
To highlight a very successful year, the AGM presented a great forum for the presentation of the re-branding of the "New Destination Belize" by Tanya McNab of McNab Publishing Limited. The partnership between the BTIA and McNab Publishing Ltd. will provide the following NEW signature components and online marketing platforms: Signature Publication, Pocket Publication, E-Book Version, Mobile App, Rack Cards, QR Code Cards and Posters. The sales kit for the 2017 edition is now available at the BTIA office or online: www.detinationbelizemagazine.com.
In commemoration of our 30th Anniversary, a Celebration Cocktail was held on December 2nd to honor outstanding members, pioneers and sponsors who were actively involved in the growth and development of the BTIA and the tourism industry of Belize. The BTIA awarded Mrs. Dahlia Castillo- Tony's Inn Beach Resort, Rosita May- Hotel Maya, St. Christopher's Hotel, Julie Babcock-Caye Casa, Maria Vega- Vegas Inn, Ian Anderson- Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge, Mick Fleming- The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Rosella Zabaneh- Blue Marlin Lodge, Steve Christensen, Rob Hirons- The Lodge at Big Falls with the Outstanding Membership Award. Maria Vega, Pedro Perez and the late Peter Tonti with the Pioneer Award. As sponsors for 2015, The Atlantic Group of Companies, Tropic Air and the Development Finance Corporation as Diamond and Gold Sponsors were also acknowledged for their support and contributions.