Dear BTIA Members:
Three months ago if we had taken a survey of the tourism industry and asked “what are your biggest challenges”? the list of answers would have run to things like…
“Lack of training opportunities!”
“High price of fuel!”
“Unfair competition from Airbnb!”
How nice it would be to return to that infinitely simpler world…but that is not going happen any time soon. We’re in a crisis. We better face up to it, get smart and get to work. That’s what we’ve been trying to do at BTIA. While our hoteliers, restaurateurs and tour operators have been making tough decisions we have been busy—often behind the scenes—pushing for policies that will help the industry get back on its feet and resume its place as the nation’s engine for economic growth.
What have we been doing?
- Advising Government at the highest levels on issues of tax relief, low interest loan facilities, help for laid off employees and more flexible interpretation of labor regulations.
- Encouraging the banking sector to accommodate the particular needs of the industry.
- Working closely and supportively with the BTB as they formulate and implement a crucial marketing campaign to keep Belize in the minds of consumers in North America and Europe.
- Acting as a clearinghouse for BTIA members to exchange innovative ideas and mechanisms to preserve cash flow and effectively convert canceled hotel reservations into future credits and not refunds.
- Formulating plans for the publication of handbooks for post-Corona operations and protocols for hotels, restaurants and tour operators.
- We continue to maintain our channels of communication open and providing access to webinars offered by CATA/FEDECATUR, sharing relevant information and other learning opportunities.
And while some efforts have been more successful than others it is our intention to keep standing alongside members as they work to survive and eventually prosper. For our own part we have taken steps similar to those of our members by reducing staff salaries, trimming expenses and working productively from home during the State of Emergency.
And while we at BTIA headquarters tighten our belts we humbly ask those members who have not yet paid their 2020 membership fees to please grant us a prominent place on your list of payables. If you have misplaced the invoice please contact Talia Tillett for a copy via email firstname.lastname@example.org . It will be money well spent.
Now to the most important part. We badly want to hear from you! Apart from the above mentioned initiatives a crucial decision for our industry will be the timing and criteria for the “reopening” of tourism in Belize. There are points to be made on all sides with some members advocating for a faster opening—which risks promoting an increase in COVID-19 cases—and others advising caution—which may put the nation’s economy at further risk.
Whatever your views we’d like to see how you feel and hear your reasoning. It’s a critically important issue and your BTIA can only represent its members when we know how you feel. Please email Executive Director John Burgos at email@example.com with your ideas or contact via WhatsApp to (501) 621-4999.
Until then stay strong, smart and above all safe.
BTIA Executive Committee and Management