“Belize is a Curious Place.”
The Belize Tourism Board’s (BTB) “Travel Belize” campaign slogan is quite a lovely one. Because there are so many things to do in Belize it leaves you wondering if you may have missed something. Indeed, Belize’s natural bounty is a blessing. Sharing it with the world is BTB’s aim. A legislated body, governing and promoting Belize as a travel destination by way of creating various marketing initiatives and management strategies is their job. They also are charged with the implementation of tourism policies to address the changing needs of the tourism industry. The organization’s goal is to enhance Belize as a tourism product and to ensure the socio-economic growth of the country.
Every year BTB holds its industry conference and Tourism Awards Ceremony. These events are to educate stakeholders on current marketing initiatives and to praise the achievements of the tourism industry and its outstanding members. This year’s industry conference was at the Princess Hotel and Casino on Friday 20th October 2017. Approximately 180 stakeholders attended to discuss the topics under the theme: Sustainable Tourism and its Impact on the Belize Market. The insights that were focused on, included responsible tourism and the importance of the best practices as well as the emerging trend of culinary tourism.
A Networking Opportunity
Experts on the topics were invited to speak from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica. Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle was even invited to moderate the afternoon session’s presentations. Witnessing the passion and pride that our colleagues have for their work was inspiring and renewing to our cause.
Following the Industry Conference, The Tourism Award Ceremony was on Saturday the 21st of October 2017. The event recognizes the excellence of stakeholders within their respective areas in the industry. The eight awards were given out range from hospitality excellence like Hotel of the Year to individual customer service achievements like the “Frontline Person of the year” that acknowledges the on the ground partners of the industry.
Moreover, awardees reflect the growth in the quality of services provided on a daily basis. They are the reason that Belize has risen as a top travel destination and it is their passion that BTB recognizes.
Recognition categories and winners for 2017 are:
Hotel of the Year – Grand Caribe
Firstly, a luxury condominium and resort operating since 2010, it is located 2 miles north of San Pedro Town on the island of Ambergris Caye. This property features breathtaking closeup views of the Barrier Reef. The family-friendly surroundings and friendliness of the staff won them the honour of this year’s Hotel of the Year.
Small Accommodation of the Year – Caribbean Beach Cabanas
This hotel is the only adults only (18+) resort on the Placencia peninsula which boasts a resort experience that immerses you into the village life. Located within Placencia town means that access to everything is a short stroll away. Their mission is to also provide the most memorable vacation possible for their guests, and their focus is to provide world-class customer service and merging Belizean charm with sustainable practices.
Tour Operator of the Year – Toledo Cave & Adventure Tours
This tour company is owned by Bruno Kuppinger. Originally from Germany, he is a skilled tour guide whose passion for the trade began while he managed the Sun Creek lodge in Toledo. His tour company has been operating for 15 years and aims to showcase the Toledo district’s distinguished tropical beauty.
An adventure company and jungle lodge, Cave’s Branch have been open to guests for 25 years. Their lodge has evolved from a rustic jungle river camp to a collection of luxury “tree houses”, complete with rooftop decks built for stunning views of the jungle canopies. They cater to travelers who are also looking for an “out of the ordinary” adventure experience. Priding themselves in bonding with their guests on a more personal level.
Lastly, this “gastro-bar” is located in Placencia Village. It is a go-to spot for classic comfort foods with a Belizean and International cuisine twist. They offer local draft beers, a full bar, small plates style dining, a full entrée menu and one of the best wine lists in Belize. The restaurant and bar source their ingredients locally and after 9 years of serving their mouthwatering creations the Rumfish y Vino staff are a family and visitors become an extension of that union. The success of Rumfish is now international as they have recently opened a second location in Ventura, California.
The Categories that acknowledge individuals that have stood out in the industry are:
Tour Guide of the Year awarded to Mr. Estevan Choco for his dedication to his craft and his ever-growing passion for birdwatching. Mr. Leroy Welch received the Frontline Person of the Year. The award is for those that demonstrate ceaseless care and guidance to tourists. Furthermore, The Minster’s Award went to Mr. Phillip Leslie for his outstanding career in the industry.
For more on the BTB award winners visit their Facebook.