Features — 19 June 2015
BTIA launches 30th anniversary celebration

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. June 18, 2015–The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is launching its 30th anniversary celebration at the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel in Belize City on the occasion of its 2015 bi-annual general meeting.

During the morning session, BTIA officials presented the organization’s achievements and future plans. Thursday afternoon was set aside for a presentation on “The Core Importance of Customer Service from Upper Management to Front Line Staff,” by Javier Gutierrez, and the evening closes off with a cocktail to mark the official launch of BTIA’s 30th anniversary celebration.

This morning, Osmany Salas provided an overview of the organization’s accomplishments since its AGM of December 2014, when he was elected to serve as the new president of BTIA. Reporting on the 10 target areas outlined for action, Salas announced that the BTIA had recruited John Burgos to fill the vacant post of executive director.

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He also said that the BTIA has been working to strengthen its constituent destination chapters, and to foster better relations between those branches and its secretariat. It has also placed emphasis on increasing the membership of the organization.

Apart from kicking off its 30th anniversary celebration today, the BTIA also announced the imminent launch of its Destination Belize campaign, which will culminate with the launch of Destination Belize 2016. This time, the magazine will not only be available in print, but also in digital formats as an e-book and mobile app.

Salas said that there is much more work ahead, and although it will be challenging, it also promises to be fulfilling.

In presenting the mid-year report, Burgos, the BTIA’s recently recruited executive director, said that the organization has kept its focus on what is important to BTIA and its members, such as ensuring that members receive the benefits due to them, and partnering with the right people and organizations to achieve milestones in marketing, training and advocacy.

According to Burgos, the BTIA now has 10 active chapters, with some chapters being recently revived.

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He said that the organization’s 30th anniversary will be commemorated this year with events in different locations around the country, including a tourism market fest and an expo later this year.

Guest speaker, Jose Manuel Ruiz, representative for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), noted that tourism is one of the four pillars outlined in the Inter-American Development Bank’s country strategy for Belize. The others are education, transport, and trade & tax policy.

Ruiz said that between 2000 and 2013, the IDB provided US$25 million to Belize for projects such as the sustainable tourism project. Belize was able to develop its first national tourism plan, and the sector saw immediate and direct benefits from projects to rehabilitate tourist sites. Also, the IDB-funded projects which targeted cultural minority groups (specifically the Maya and the Garinagu) with a matching grant fund for business development benefited 21 micro-small businesses, among them a drumming school and arts and handicraft gift shops, with 15 businesses experiencing increased sales of 80% in just 1 year.

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