Headline — 24 December 2015 — by Adele Ramos
Steve Harvey invited to host Costa Maya on San Pedro

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Dec. 22, 2015–The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) managed to create a buzz in international media this week when it tweeted a public invitation to Steve Harvey, suggesting that he should host next year’s Costa Maya pageant, organized out of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize next summer.

Harvey, a world-famous comedian loved by many Belizeans, hosted the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant this weekend, but made a major blunder by announcing the wrong winner.

“It’s no joke”, says BTB Director

“Dear [Steve Harvey], we all make mistakes. You handled yours with class. Would you host our next [Costa Maya] pageant?” the BTB tweeted on Monday evening, December 21. Steve Harvey liked the BTB’s tweet.

If you thought the BTB’s invitation was just a joke, it’s not—at least that’s what BTB Director Karen Bevans told Amandala today. “It’s real,” Bevans asserted. Bevans says that if Harvey accepts, they would gladly agree to him hosting the Costa Maya next year. “If he says yes, we would… sure!” she said. The BTB, which is the biggest sponsor of the regional Costa Maya pageant, was also capitalizing on the Steve Harvey incident to get some attention for Belize. The BTB reports that so far the BTB’s tweet has resulted in 59,000 impressions, 51 combined retweets/likes, as well as media coverage in NY Daily News (with 11,872,000 impressions), Deadline (3,173,000 impressions), Eurweb (255,000 impressions), and The Celebrity Café (115,000 impressions). It’s not the first time that the BTB has taken to social media with messages intended to capitalize on events already creating an international buzz to position Belize in the international media. It did the same recently with another leisure event – football. GQ online said: “the NFL decided to move the PAT kick back from 20 yards to 33 yards, the previous easiest play in football has gotten a whole lot harder. Kickers are missing left and right, and teams are searching for answers.” The BTB had one: They hired one of Belize’s best football players, defender Ian Gaynair, to show them how to do it. In an online video staged on a Belize football field, Gaynair scored a goal from the 33-yard quarterback line with a seemingly effortless move while suggesting that those footballers who found it hard to land the goal need to come relax in Belize.

Belize’s Invitation To Football KickersIn Belize, we love football — both kinds. Which is why we can’t bear to watch anymore American football kickers struggle… they need to relax! We’ve teamed up with Belize football (soccer) star Ian Gaynair to make the following offer: The next kicker to miss a field goal or extra point is invited on a trip to Belize.

Posted by Belize Vacation on Thursday, October 8, 2015

The BTB reports that the NFL kicker had 18 media placements, over 71 million media impressions (or displays), 3.7 million social impressions and nearly 20,000 video views.

Bevans said that the social media posts are intended to “get some positive attraction…” for Belize, and it has worked since mainstream media has been taking note and picking up the BTB’s content.

Bevans credits BTB’s marketing team, which includes Olson, a US firm based in Minneapolis, with the new strategy.

She said that Belize has been seeing increased tourist arrivals in the region of over 20% since October.

They have also initiated a campaign dubbed “Small Country Sunday”, which asked potential visitors, to come to Belize or shop for a ticket, Bevans shared.

“Our team came up with Small Country Sunday to get shoppers enticed to shop vacation travels to small countries (starting with Belize),” a BTB report she provided to us said, adding that the program generated 9 international media placements, 35 million media impressions and 46,000 video views.

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