CELEBRATING DIVERSITY... 25 YEARS OF ADVOCATING FOR RESPONSIBLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
BTIA in celebrating its 25th Anniversary will be centering its focus on a series of issues with the hopes to reinforce its message of celebrating diversity while advocating for responsible tourism development. The past year was by all means a challenging one for Belize's economy. Tourism, Belize's major service industry experienced declines in revenue collection from hotel taxes, decline in airport arrivals for international tourists and the operators and BTIA members in the sector reported several business challenges ranging from longer low season hotel closures, cutting and rearranging employee work hours and schedules so as not to lay off workers, ownership and management changes for hotels, reduced vibrancy in tours, reduce spending from tourists across the board in areas affecting arts and craft and restaurant services.
Having observed the early signs and hearing the call from membership, early in 2009 BTIA undertook a strategic planning exercise. This exercise took stock not only of the organization 25 years after but assessed its role in the development of tourism for Belize. It was clear that while the partnership with tourism public sector is important and needs reinforcement, BTIA had to remain a strong advocacy voice for the industry and the operators. The emerging focus for advocacy was rightfully then determined to be:
- Increased advocacy on safety and security in general - Crime has well established negative impact on the quality of life in general as well as economic processes and operations. Tourism is no exception. The negative effect of the sensational criminal activity on daily life and business operations prompts concern and requires the assistance of all. In conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, BTB and the public sector security agencies, BTIA kicked off a series of safety and security consultations in the tourism destinations across Belize in September of 2009 and intends to continue with the activity. The early successes of the closer collaboration and partnership with public sector security agencies have fostered improved dialogue and a direct line of assistance to the security agencies. The continued high profile criminal activity requires continued action and vigilance, stemming any possibility for negative international press and travel advisories. (Read more ...)
As part of this venture, BTIA hosted Juvil Eliahou from Guatemala and representing Maritime Security as their consultant. The meeting which took place at Banyan Bay, dealt with public security system which are hoped to be implemented on Ambergris Caye. Read more in this week's issue of The San Pedro Sun.