BTIA Hosts 33rd Annual General Meeting The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) hosted its 33rd Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 6th December 2018 at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza to an audience of over one hundred BTIA members and partners and other industry stakeholders. In his welcome address, Senator of the Belize Network of NGOs, Mr. Osmany Salas, bid his farewell as a member of the BTIA Board of Directors ending his address with the following statement, “And, please, let’s each bring in at least one new member into the BTIA family during the upcoming year. With a larger membership, we will become an even greater force that will propel our organization to, as our mission says, “serve as a unified industry voice, influencing tourism policy, legislation and marketing for the sustainable development of the tourism industry of Belize.” Special guest presenter, H.E. Carlos Quesnel Melendez, Ambassador of Mexico, in his talk recognized the work his Embassy embarked with Belize in support of the growth of the country’s tourism industry. In his address he commented, “The most important topic for our Embassy in this new year and with the new government will be to reactivate the negotiations for the Partial Scope Agreement between Mexico and Belize. I am convinced that his regulatory framework, besides promoting trade opening, facilitating exchange flows and strengthening our economies, will allow us to open the services that are fundamental for the tourism sector of both countries.” After the review and adoption of the minutes of the 2017 Annual General Meeting presented by Board Secretary, Ms. Tanya Silva and the presentation of the un-audited financial statement by the Board Treasurer, Mr. Pedro Perez, guest speaker, Mr. Ishmael Quiroz, Executive Director of the Economic Development Council (EDC), gave his presentation. In his remarks he commented, “I believe that it is imperative for every Belizean, including each of you in this room, to join in on the reform work at hand, so as to contribute to bringing about meaningful change and enhancements to the way business is done in Belize. I implore that you reach out to us, through your business associations, and representatives and provide your recommendations for improvements. In return, you have the EDC’s commitment to continue to work tirelessly to improve the business climate in Belize, which ultimately, will contribute to a more prosperous tourism sector for all.” In his presentation of the year in review, Executive Director, John M. Burgos, modestly listed the many great accomplishments of the BTIA for the year 2017/18. These included: 1. Overseeing the training of 389 Belizeans in various fields, 2. Managing the successful production and launch of the 20th edition of Destination Belize 3. Spearheading the marketing of multi-destination packages in Europe with the support of CATA 4. Being a supporting partner of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MTCA) towards the banning of single use plastics 5. An active member of the Coalition to ban gill nets in Belize (in support of the fly fishing and sports fishing industry) 6. A supporter in the movement to have the World Heritage Site removed from the UNESCO In Danger List. 7. Strengthening of BTIA’s local, regional and international network of partners and associates The above listed are only a few of the many great accomplishments of the BTIA. In closing his presentation, Mr. Burgos noted, “The work continues for the BTIA in 2019 as we prepare to host the BETEX 2019 and the 2nd Annual Belize Birding Festival, plan new training opportunities in partnership with the Mexican Embassy, plan familiarization trips for influencers in partnership with CATA, and continue to advocate for the sustainable development of Belize’s tourism industry.” BTIA’s 33rd AGM Elections were held with the members of the BTIA confirming the election of Ms. Melanie Paz as President and Mr. Stuart Khron as 2nd Vice President for the period 2019-2020. In her remarks as new President of the BTIA, Ms. Melanie Paz noted, “BTIA has grown stronger under the leadership of Senator Osmany Salas and Mr. Raineldo Guerrero over the last four years. The results of all that has been accomplished during this time proves that as a united group, we can accomplish great things. I will try my best to continue what was started.” Ms. Paz closed her remarks by encouraging stakeholders within all the destinations to take on the leadership roles in the BTIA Chapters in an effort to make a positive difference within their destinations. Special acknowledgements were made to the BTIA’s Diamond Sponsor – Atlantic Bank Group of Companies, Platinum Sponsor – Tropic Air, and Gold Sponsors – Fabrigas Belize Limited and Digi for their contributions and continuous support to the Association in 2017/18. Each Destination Chapter Chair was also recognized for their commitment to the Association within their destinations and nationally. Note: The BTIA Executive Committee for 2018: President Melanie Paz 1st Vice-President Tamara Sniffin 2nd Vice-President Stewart Krohn Treasurer Pedro Perez Secretary Tanya Silva Chapter Representative Rhoda Gill Past President Raineldo Guerrero The BTIA Destination Chapter Chairs for 2018: Corozal Efren Perez Cayo Tanya Silva Orange Walk Nellie Briceño Dangriga Rosella Zabaneh Ambergris Caye Tamara Sniffin Hopkins TBA Caye Caulker Maria Vega Placencia Salvador Zabaneh Belmopan Rhoda Gill Punta Gorda TBA Contact: National Secretariat Belize Tourism Industry Association Email: Tel: 227-1144