Tourism Industry stakeholders and international marketing experts converged at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Friday, Oct 18 to discuss a wide-range of issues important to the local industry as part of this year’s BTB annual Tourism Conference which saw a record attendance of over 200 participants.
The conference evolved from the BTB’s strategic plan on equipping stakeholders with pertinent and relevant information for the industry’s enhancement.
The one-day conference was held under the theme: Destination Marketing & the Impact on our Belize Market. The morning session focused on Cultural Immersion trends in Tourism while the afternoon session included discussions on Combating the Challenges Facing the Tourism Industry Today.
Topics included the Cultural Immersion Phenomena; Preserving Culture in the Changing Tourism Industry; Benefits of Promoting Cultural Tourism; Marketing Strategies & Tactics for Cultural Tourism; Innovative Practices and Challenges; Climate Change & its Impact on Tourism; Styrofoam & Plastics – Strategies & Alternatives; Combating Regional Sargassum and its Alternatives and Safety and Security.
The conference included dynamic speakers from the United Kingdom, the U.S., the
Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. These included Keynote speaker, Stephanie M. Jones who said “Local people are a destination’s greatest cultural assets. They are the storytellers and experience givers”, President and CEO, Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism Inc; Deborah Hickling, Principal Consultant,G Consults; Charlene Drakes, Executive Co-ordinator, Office of the Secretary General, CTO; Richard Peterson, President and CEO, US Cultural & Heritage Marketing Council; Carol Hay, Keynote speaker, Director of Marketing UK & Europe who challenged stakeholders by saying “The vision for us all should now be, where do we want to be by 2030 and how will innovative practices take us there”; Jane Madden, Managing Partner, Global Sustainability & Social Impact, Finn Partners; Diane MacEachern, Founder and CEO of Big Green Purse; Dr. Janice Cumberbatch, Lecturer Center for Resource Management and Environmental Studies, UWI and Earl Harris, Assistant Director of Strategic Services, CARICOM IMPACS.
In addition to the speakers, there were presentations from BTB’s PR Agencies including ICF Next, Marketing Agency for USA & Canada; Brighter Group, Marketing Agency for UK & Europe, GlobActive, Marketing Agency for the Netherlands and Gaudelli, Marketing Agency for Mexico.
The conference commenced with an informative video entitled: Where did the Year Go? which highlighted the industry’s major accomplishments during 2018 and 2019.
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation was present during the conference among many other invited guests.
At the end of the conference, stakeholders and participants gained a better appreciation of the benefits of the aforementioned themes/concepts and their potential to contribute to a memorable visitor experience and a greater increase in visitor arrivals to Belize, a Curious Place.