BETEX is Belize’s Rising Tourism Star
The success of last week’s Belize tourism expo is one more indication that the growth of the Belizean travel and tourism industry is on the right track, the owner of Belize’s premier eco lodge said today.
Lucy Fleming, who along with her husband Mick ownThe Lodge at Chaa Creek, regarded as a pioneer in the Belize tourism industry, said that the quality of offerings at this year’s BETEX, the Belize Tourism Expo, highlighted the fact that the Belize tourism is moving in the right direction.
BETEX is a biannual tourism industry trade show organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and attracts industry professionals as well as travel agents and writers from around the world. According to BTIA President Jim Scott, this year was the biggest in the event’s history, with over 350 attendees at Belize’s Princess Hotel.
Mr. Scott said that due to the country’s small size and other unique attributes, promoting Belize in-country was more effective than attending larger trade shows overseas. “Where better can you promote your culture and your destination than at home? They get to learn about Belize, about our culture, about our natural resources, things to do while they are here… the hotels, tour operators, sites, restaurants, smells and so many good things. Things that you have pride in as a Belizean.”
Given this year’s tourism figures, it seems that Belize’s marketing efforts are getting results.
Belize’s Minster for Tourism, Hon. Manuel Heredia, said that while last year set a record for Belizean tourism, 2012 is already showing even better figures, with this year’s first quarter showing an increase of over 8% in tourist arrivals compared to last year, with record 32,000-plus overnight visitors last March.
Ms Fleming said that while interest in Belize’s Maya history and culture has increased due to the global media and internet attention on the so called Maya 2012 prophesies, she is confident that Belize vacations will continue to become more popular in coming years.
“Where else can you go from pristine rainforest studded with majestic Maya temples and remnants of ancient cities to unspoiled Caribbean islands and beaches in just a few hour driving? We’re just a short hop from the US, have a very friendly, English speaking population, a wealth of stunning natural beauty and a wide range of activities to enjoy it. Belize has developed a very professional, vibrant tourism industry over the last couple of decades, and the word is finally getting out.
“When you consider how much Belize has to offer it stands out as a very affordable destination that appeals to a wide range of people. At Chaa Creek we offer a selection of all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, some with specific focus in areas such as Maya culture, inland adventure, family and even romance with destination weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways. With our rainforest-to-reef packages visitors get to combine a picture-perfect Caribbean beach holiday with a true jungle and wildlife experience, and that’s not something you can do just anywhere,” she said.
Ms Fleming said that positive word of mouth through social media and the publicity surrounding celebrity visits to Belize in recent years are other factors driving tourism growth. “At the end of the day, Belize really sells itself – our biggest job is to just let people know we’re here,” she said.
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