BTB presents Tourism Arrivals for 2011

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The Belize Tourism Board held its annual meeting to issue the Official Announcement of 2011 Tourist Arrivals, in San Pedro Town in the form of a Press Conference, on Wednesday February 15th at The Phoenix resort at 10:45AM.

Presenting at the conference were: Javier Paredez, Interim Director of BTB; Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture; Miss Yanick Dalhouse, Director of Marketing and Laura Esquivel, Director of Quality Assurance and Destination Outlook.

Offering the welcome and opening remarks was Mr. Paredez, who stated that the overnight and cruise arrivals for the fourth quarter reached historic proportions this year. Following this, Hon. Heredia took the floor to present on the Tourist Arrivals in Belize for 2011. There were 57, 964 visitors in the 4th quarter in 2011, representing a 6.5% increase from the same period in 2010. This marked a continuous increase from 2008-2011.
With a total of 12,093 visitors, October saw a 1.4% increase over last year from 11,931 in 2010. This was followed by an 8.3% increase in November at 18,908, compared to 17,451 in 2010. December’s arrivals of 26,945 in 2011 marked a 7.6% increase compared to December 2010.

According to Mr. Heredia, overnight arrivals in 2011 were a record high with a total overnight arrival figure for 2011 of 250,263. Following this, Yanick Dalhouse spoke on Marketing Accomplishments and the newly improved TravelBelize.org website as well as free international press received by Belize owed to filming of various shows on our soil.

Laura Esquivel presented on Quality Assurance and Destination Outlook; outlining plans of improving on our product, including trainings for customer services and other aspects of the Tourism Industry.
She informed that the BTB has completed a national BTB master plan and is now in the process of implementing this master plan. This includes BTB’s working closely to with the Tourism Police and the Police Force to address security issues at all major tourist destinations in the country. She explained that while BTB is mainly a marketing tool, they are more than willing to give whatever support needed to the bodies that do have some control over these issues.
Some ways on improving on the product offered by BTB includes training being offered to tour operators in cultural tourism as well as a small grant going coming from the IDB; a re-vamped tour guide association course comprising of programs that focus on interpretive skills and the introduction of a new tour operator course as well as the re-vamping of BTB’s accreditation system. Tour Operators and businesses offering a Tourism product are invited to contact the BTB to be part of the pilot project to accredit these organizations.

Following an update on Tourism Revenue by Javier Paredez, the floor was opened for questions and answers. The San Pedro Sun posed the question; “With the reported increase in tourism arrivals and the boost in the Tourism Industry in 2011; what do you say to individual business owners and tour operators on the island who are claiming that they have not really seen a ‘Tourist Season’ for the year 2011?”

In response, Mr. Paredez explained that the increase is felt in increments. Further, in 2011 there was a hike in the registration of new businesses, tour operators and so forth – in essence – “more people eating off the same piece of pie”. For further information on BTB and the presentation, visit www.Belizetourism.org.

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