As expected, 2014 was as record breaking year for Belize, with 1,207,386 tourist arrivals recorded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). Last year also saw Belize break the long sought after but heretofore elusive figure of 300,000 overnight visitors, a tourism goal akin to a runner breaking the four minute mile, with the BTB figures showing a record 321,220 overnight visitors. This represents a very impressive 9.2 percent increase from the year before.
This is good news, and The Belize Tourism Board released the information in much the same way it was received by tourism industry stakeholders – with big smiles across the faces. We are growing as an overnight tourism destination, attracting the sort of people who stay longer, spend more money, and get to know Belize and Belizeans better.
Just like the Blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Buddy Guy, Paranda musicians stir something deep inside. Paul Nabor’s Naguya Ne (I am Moving On) just seems to get more poignant and soulful with each listen, and the younger Aurelio Martinez is carrying on that soulful tradition.He’s an artist that stays true to the form yet is instantly recognisable for his own distinctive style. So it was a pleasure to hear that the Belize Tourism Board, aka the BTB, selected one of his songs, “Santo Negro”, as the backing track for its promotional video. Great decision I thought, as I sat back, closed my eyes and savoured it again. Yes, this evokes Belize to someone who knows and loves it, and is a wonderful introduction to the country for others.
In its introduction, Forbes’ photo feature states that, “Living overseas is different from just visiting. Before you retire to a foreign country, consider not just the weather and cost of living, but also healthcare; safety; tax and visa requirements; and how friendly the country is to foreigners. Here are some possibilities,” and then goes on to list fifteen of what it considers the world’s best retirement choices.
The August issue guides readers through Central and South America. The article on Belize speaks about Prince Harry’s visit in March, 2012, and also lists activities he should experience upon his return. It mentions the street fair that was held in his honor, in Belmopan, and his climb of Xunantunich.
The BETEX Opening Night is Belize’s tourism event of the year. BETEX registered delegates, members of the local and international press, and special invited guests will enjoy an evening filled with cultural food displays, live performances and lots of entertainment. Belize’s key tourism stakeholders that are BETEX registered Exhibitors will welcome and mingle with international wholesalers and travel agents for a vibrant evening of networking, fun and dance.
The Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) is coming up next week. It’s a major tourism showcase that brings together local stakeholders with international travel agents to promote Belize as a tourism destination. BETEX is held every two years by the Belize Tourism Industry Association with planning assistance from Idea Lab studios and this year, it’s going to be a five day event, starting next Wednesday.