The Truth is...
ourism is like a sport and that sport is a steeplechase. The tourism high season extending from December to April might confuse the race for a five-month sprint; however, industry insiders know the race is longer and plenty more exciting than that. The steeplechase is an obstacle race where competitors must clear hurdles, ditches, hedges, and water jumps. If our industry objectives and events are our hurdles, then the unforeseen local, regional, and international setbacks are the ditches and hedges. International factors such as war, global recessions, trade, a global pandemic etc., far removed from our control, are often capable of sending shock waves throughout the global tourism industry. Regionally, tourism in the Caribbean is highly dependent on advance economies as a major source of tourists’ arrivals, we are prone to natural disasters, geographically we are vulnerable to climate change issues, and we all compete among each other. Locally, the number of airlines serving the country and the number of available hotel rooms are major factors that influence tourists’ arrivals. This high season will test our local industry’s stamina and training in new ways since the global industry has seen so many changes. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) keeps a close eye on all the possible proverbial ditches and hedges in our steeplechase, but just like everyone else, we move into the new year focused on a feeling of goodwill and hope matched with our diligent preparation and planning.
What most people have, at the start of every year, is hope. Intuitively, people want to set aside the old year and all its disappointments and doubts and embrace new ideas and new energy. Somehow there is always more hope in January so we must capitalize on it. The Honorable Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations (MTDR) Anthony Mahler expressed that “we have a lot of work to do to improve the quality of the visitor experience. We are on a path for growth and development”. Domestically ditches and hedges that impact the tourism sector can stem from any combination of social, environmental, economic, or human conditions. Regardless, any misfortune is one we cross together for the continued safety and development of the sector and industry workers. The MTDR continues to work along with other Government Ministries and Civil Society partners to strengthen the response to all vulnerabilities impacting our tourism industry. On the 5th of January 2023, Minister Anthony Mahler handed over four (4) Utility Transport Vehicles (UTVs) to the Tourism Police Unit (TPU). A Honda 20 HP boat engine was also handed over to the Police Department for the San Pedro Formation. Safeguarding the Belize Tourism Product also means maintaining its international relevance. This month the BTB will attend one of Europe’s largest Travel Trade expos. The BTB team will travel to Madrid, Spain to place our tourism product on display and to engage with international partners. The event is a major objective and a hurdle we are eager and happy to cross.
The year is young, and the high season is fresh. At home, the BTB continues to train, share information, build relationships, create, invest, and distribute valuable resources across the sector. In that sentiment, we highlight Truism.This -ism is because there is an indisputable and self-evident truth about our industry. It is resilient. However, it is not cliché to say that we are in this together. The steeplechase is a long race. The hurdles are often high and many of the ditches can be deep, but we learn, we improve, and we grow.
See you next week.
The Belize Tourism Board