San Pedro Belize Tourism Industry Association opens Tourism Information Center in San Pedro
Tuesday, April 19th, 2022
With support from Sandy Point Realty, the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC), and the national Belize Tourism Industry Association, the San Pedro Belize Tourism Industry Association Chapter (SPBTIA) has opened a Tourism Information Center (TIC) in the heart of San Pedro Town. Located between the House of Culture and the San Pedro Artisans Market on Angel Coral Street across from the Saca Chispa Field, the information center will provide walk-in visitors with tourism-related information and services provided by their local members.
Other Belize Tourism Industry Association Chapters in the country have tourism information centers. More than a year ago, the SPBTIA Chapter, now the largest Chapter in the country, decided that San Pedro was long overdue to have one as well. According to SPBTIA Chairwoman Tamara Sniffin, the group started exploring possible locations, even visiting with area representative Hon. Andre Perez for suggestions and appealing for support. It wasn’t long after their initial effort that SPBTIA member Mirna Waight offered to donate a building on behalf of Sandy Point Realty. “Our work was then cut out for us. The building was located 3.5 miles north of San Pedro Town, and the logistics of moving it was one thing; the next was finding a central location that was visible to tourists, and working around the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help! After much deliberation, we approached Mayor Wally Nuñez about placing the 16’ x 16’ building on the property next to the House of Culture. We thought the two buildings would complement each other, one providing tourists with information and the other showcasing the rich history of San Pedro Town and Ambergris Caye. The synergy was perfect for enhancing the entire area with the nearby Artisan Market, the international water taxi terminal, the sunset boardwalk, and the Saca Chispa event field across the street. Mayor Nuñez was more than receptive to the idea and enthusiastically helped us move forward with relocating the building,” Sniffin recounted.
With SPBTIA Treasurer Pete Davis overseeing the big move, the property was first prepared for the building by digging and installing pylons and the necessary infrastructure. SPTC assisted in relocating coconut trees from the area and was very helpful during the entire process. “The initial plan was to place the building on a trailer and transport it to town during the late-night hours. After much excavating and planning, we decided that idea was not the best due to the size and weight of the building. Thanks to Island Construction’s generous donation in December, they came to the rescue, barging the building from the island’s east side to their marina in San Pedrito until conditions were good to barge it to the west side. A few weeks later, the barge landed directly north of the international water taxi terminal on the lagoon, where the building was loaded onto a trailer and driven to its location next to the House of Culture. This process took hours, traffic diversions, and a lot of breath-holding. We were quite relieved when the building settled at its permanent home!” exclaimed Sniffin.
Once the building was installed, the TIC Committee of Mirna Waight, Nick Savone, Pete Davis, Janet Brown, and Sniffin got busy making the house a home. They finished the interior with a restroom and built-in counter area, and a porch with railing was added to the front of the building. The surrounding fence and structure got a fresh paint job, and final touches are underway.
On March 28th, and more than a year in the making, the tourism information opened under a “soft opening,” with Janet Brown overseeing operations and coordinating volunteers and student interns to staff the center. The TIC currently has tourism books, and a dive map for sale, and provides emergency information and travel schedules. Brochures and QR codes of SPBTIA members are displayed where guests can connect to them for more information via their smartphone. The center is open Monday through Saturday, 10AM till 4PM.
A grand opening event and membership mixer is planned for April 29th. Guests will tour the facility, hear from invited speakers, and donors will be recognized, with a social following the formalities.
The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) is a broad-based tourism umbrella organization that brings tourism-related interests to meet the challenges of a dynamic and growing tourism industry in Belize. The association has representation on almost every tourism-related government, legislative, advisory, consultative, and licensing committee, which is proof of its continued commitment to national development. BTIA also plays an important role in the linkage of the private and public sectors. As a direct consequence of BTIA’s initiatives, particularly its advocacy efforts, tourism has become one of Belize’s largest industries and constitutes an estimated 40% of the national GDP. For more information about the BTIA, please visit their website at https://www.btia.org/
For more information about the SPBTIA Tourism Information Center, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/spbtiatic or see the Belize Tourism Industry Association San Pedro Chapter on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/spbtia. For more information on becoming a member of the SPBTIA please email [email protected] or call 673-2842.
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