Friday, April 27th, 2012
The Belize Tourism Expo (BETEX) was held in Belize City on April 25th and 26th. The event, sponsored by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), was held under the theme, “Selling the Adventure” with the main objective to promote Belize to international stakeholders. Organized in 1996, BETEX has become a mainstay and occurs every two years, attracting over 300 local and international tourism professionals, press representatives and visitors.
BETEX 2012 commenced on Wednesday night with a welcome reception and opening ceremony held at the House of Culture in Belize City. Guests, local and international, had the opportunity to mingle and socialize in anticipation of the show on Thursday April 26th at the Princess Hotel.
Of notable presence at the opening ceremony were; Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and Mrs. Heredia, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Honorable Patrick Faber and Mrs. Faber, CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Mrs. Tracy Panton, Director of Tourism Mr. Javier Peradez, President of NICH, Mrs. Diane Haylock, President of the Belize Hotel Association, Mr. Doug Thompson, and President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, Mr. Jim Scott among others.
Master of ceremonies at the event was Mr. Efren Perez, Executive director of BTIA. Offering a beautiful rendition of our Belizean National Anthem was Miss Tricia Gabourel. Offering the introduction of the expedition hosts BTIA and BETEX, Mrs. Nicole Solano was then introduced as the organizer. Following which, a welcome address was given by Mr. Jim Scott, President of the BTIA. This was followed by an address by Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.
Heredia commenced by welcoming the crowd, “It gives me great pleasure, as the Minister of Tourism and Culture, to welcome you to our homeland! Welcome you to the Maya Heartland! Welcome you to Belize! As you can see from the festive décor around us we are certainly about “Selling the Adventure”, as this year’s theme suggests!” Heredia continued to speak on the recognition the country has received for its beaches, dive sites and exceptional services. He further boasted an 8.1 percent increase in overnight stays in the first quarter for this year. Heredia invited the guests to be a part of the many activities being held country wide, including the Village Expo, the Cashew Festival and the Toledo Cacao Festival. He invited them to experience the many wonders of Belize; the Mayan Ruins, the great Blue Hole, diving, snorkeling, our water falls and much more.
Following Mr. Heredia’s address, BETEX committee chair person, Mrs. Denise Ockley presented the closing remarks after which entertainment was provided by the Maya Center Mayan Museum Dance Group.
The BETEX show was held on Thursday at the Princess Hotel commencing at 8am and ran through 3pm. The event showcased Belize’s travel destinations, hotels, tour operators and other tourism service providers. It brought together international travel resellers to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business with local travel suppliers, while providing them with information on Belize as well as giving them a chance to experience some of Belize.
In speaking of the show, Heredia commented, “This is the most well attended BETEX that I have ever seen. BETEX to me is improving it is attracting more international participants. I think we had over 70 wholesalers that arrived in Belize. This means to say that the recognition and the hard work that these people are doing, BTIA, BHA, BTB with BETEX is exceptionally good.”
Resorts from across the country were represented. Following the show, guests travelled to San Pedro where they were hosted by San Pedro’s BTIA to a cocktail dinner.
In San Pedro the invited guests, included over 80 international travel agencies, got the opportunity to enjoy a Caribbean Night at the Blue Water Grill. The cocktail event included musical performances by Cool Gs Band where those in attendance danced to the tune of typical Belizean-Caribbean music followed and Caribbean eateries and drinks. The cocktail event was geared to give the travel agencies a true experience of Belize which they would be able sell the country as an adventure destination.
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