The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held its first stakeholders meeting of 2018 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel on Wednesday, January 10th. The purpose of these industry meetings (which also took place in Ambergris Caye and Placencia) is to open a communication between the regional stakeholders and BTB on how to effectively promote the destinations to the global travel industry. The event was led by Mrs. Karen Pike, Director of Marketing & Industry Relations at the BTB, Mr. Einer Gomez, Chairman of the BTB’s Board of Directors; and invited guest Mrs. Jena Gardner, President and CEO of JG BlackBook.
The consultation begun with opening remarks of appreciation to the stakeholders of the Cayo District who are valuable in keeping the destination at the forefront. This was followed by a presentation by Mrs. Karen Pike on the BTB Statistics for 2017 and its impact in Cayo and Belize—the latter which received a 10.8% increase in tourist arrivals. Thank you to the newly introduced direct flights from Westjet and AirCanada, this growth is predicted to stay on the rise for the upcoming year. Similarly, the BTB-COPA Airlines partnership is another contributing factor that has encouraged the South American arrivals to Belize.
Mrs. Jena Gardner shared interesting insights on travel trends that can contribute to the Belizean tourism industry, some of these included:
- A growth in the US economy increased international travel by 44% in the first quarter (Chicago Tribune). Many of these travelers are planning a two-week vacation internationally which raises the opportunity for Belize to be their next destination for family vacations.
- Family travel and social travel are the top reasons why Americans vacation.
- The top trends for travel include exploring new destinations and immersing with the local life, unique culinary experiences, and travelling for things that encourage silence and connection with nature.
Mrs. Gardner suggested that a good approach for hoteliers is to focus their marketing on these travelers that work hard to get away instead of focusing on specific age groups.
The stakeholder meeting participants, which included a variety of hotels, resorts, and lodges, also discussed different approaches for marketing Cayo. Over the past couple of months, the Belize Tourism Board has launched various campaigns highlighting the activities, culture, food, and other characteristics that are crucial to the district in an attempt to showcase its beauty to international adventure seekers; these can be viewed on their press releases, social media, tradeshow booths, and local kiosks.
Overall, the stakeholders meeting was a success. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the properties present and the Belize Tourism Board for taking the time to meet with the industry partners.