Issues Affecting our Belize Tourism Industry (updated)
Belize Has a Very Diverse Culture
On September 23rd, 2016 Breaking Belize News publish my article "The most powerful way to market Belize’s tourism". I made sure the lede was in the opening paragraph, so that there could be no confusions as to what my recommendation were in how Belize's tourism product should be marketed - "Belize has a unique, diverse cultural mix of people which should be our primary focus when marketing and selling Belize’s tourism product to the world." Read full article, here. There are so many types of tourism in Belize, and I commend the members of the Belize Tourism Industry Association are doing a phenomenal job creating and publishing high quality content in their blogs.
What BTB Is Currently Doing: Since Belize tourism statistics hard to come by, I will point identify what sticks out to me, and the first instance is, they are spending far too much effort in trying to tax the tourism industry (without transparency and accountability and via coercion) such as shaking down Belizeans who are tapping into the Bed & Breakfast industry, and providing zero support and incentives so as to build this niche industry, but instead they are suffocating people before they can even get off the ground. I write more about this, here.
The decisions of BTB in trying to apply cookie-cutter ideas across the Belize tourism industry, is destroying the authenticity of our tourism-product.
What BTB Should Be Doing: My analysis and recommendation in my article indentifies that BTB should be:
showcasing more of our people and our cultural diversity, which is supported by Madeline Stone's Business Insider article published today, November 12, 2016 - "Wealthy Americans have a new attitude about traveling — and it should terrify hotel chains" where she made it crystal clear that "Travelers want to sample a destination's food, take in its art scene, and go out where the locals do."
This translates to, travelers wanting to experience the authentic culture of the country they are visiting, and I add that this authenticity should be incorporated into every aspect of our tourism product.
Incentives: focusing its energy on creating incentives to build and improve the tourism industry, such as, but certainly not limited to, addressing acute seasonality, which Belize simply can't seem to get out of. A major contributing factor as to why, is because overhead expenses are extremely high in Belize, and BTB and GOB could, for example,
lower hotel and business taxes,
reducing communication costs,
banning gill nets, etc.
Belize Safety: Work with all necessary authorities in address the crime situation that is becoming a bane to our major tourist destinations.
Niche Markets: There are many undeveloped Belize points of interests, such as turning the entire Hummingbird Highway into the tourist attraction it is, by establishing rest-zones and look-out areas along the highway, with proper infrastructure.
3 MAIN REASONS WHY BTB SHOULD BE DISMANTLED
BTB as a statutory board, is that it gets to tax businesses active in the tourism industry, and those businesses have no legal say in the decisions the BTB makes.
No accountability and transparency to stakeholders.
Decisions being made is causing severe damage to Belize's tourism product and thus tourism industry.