On October 1 Belize welcomed back visitors to its shores with the reopening of the Phillip Goldson International Airport. In addition to a reopening video, the destination was also promoted via paid social ads, earned media from interviews and proactive pitching, and press releases to both the travel trade and consumers.
In addition, Belize held its first virtual press trip (VPT) under the theme “Embracing Belize as the Great Outdoors” showcasing the destination, the Gold Standard Recognition Program, and announced the re-opening for international leisure travel. Eighteen Canadian media outlets participated in the press trip, including the Canadian Travel Press, Daily Dream 360, Perfect Wedding Magazine, the Toronto Sun and the Travel Courier among others. 

Journalists were fascinated to learn about Belize’s myriad attractions with an itinerary that highlighted our cuisine, culture and adventure. A snippet of attractions included a tour of the Belize zoo, a city tour, the ATM cave experience, zip lining, Fry Jack and tortilla cooking classes, a hike through the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and an aerial view of the Blue Hole.

Here are a few clips of the VPT:
If prompted, enter this password: bze123

COVID-19’s direct impact on Belize’s tourism was a screeching halt to travel. During this period in addition to creating wanderlust via our Belize Awaits Campaign, strategies were developed to determine key tactics for Belize to regain its momentum in travel and to position the destination as a premium choice for travelers. 

Space and safety have now become the new luxury. As travel resumes, travelers are yearning to emerge from their isolation and re-experience the “Great Outdoors”. They desire to unplug and safely escape to adventure. Belize’s inherent attributes of low population density, eco-tourism, nature, wildlife, beaches, diving, reef, rich archaeological history, caves and jungles, our welcoming people and cultures, in tandem with our Gold Standard program makes the destination reassuring for travelers.

Pertinent to regaining our momentum in travel is positioning Belize as a respite from a pandemic-filled year. A destination where there is a variety of adventures at your fingertips for an unforgettable vacation and where you can breathe easy in the ultimate outdoors. It is on this foundation that the Exhale Campaign has evolved; subtly messaging our assets and emphasis on Belize’s reopening as well as a call to action of booking that vacation.

This introductory campaign to our restart of travel encompasses the following:

  • Out of Home Marketing commencing in November with airport activations in Miami and Houston with potential to expand into other flight markets. In highly trafficked terminals and concourses double sided hanging banners, side-by-side backlit sidewall units and banners will be displayed. 
  • Direct Consumer and Trade marketing via e-blasts and homepage take overs of prominent travel trade publications
  • Digital displays and social displays
While this campaign is being launched in our main source market – USA -  elements will be modified to market the destination in our other source markets as well.
Top Stories
Top outlets with great reach covered the destination in all our source markets and beyond.

Forbes — see HERE
Lonely Planet — see HERE
The Points Guy — see HERE
TravelPulse — see HERE
TravelPulse — see HERE
Caribbean Journal — see HERE
Travel Weekly – see HERE 
Travel Agent Central - See HERE
Recommend -  see HERE 
CNN – see HERE 
Forbes – see HERE

Canadian Travel Press – see HERE
Provence Azur – see HERE
Toronto Caribbean Newspaper – see HERE
What She Said Radio – see HERE
Le Lezard – see HERE

Calibre – see HERE
Travel Bulletin – see HERE
Style Cartel – see HERE
Sophie’s Suitcase – see HERE

And Belize also secured a few top notch awards via Conde Naste and Trip Savvy.
Congratulations to all our industry partners who have secured Gold Standard certification. To date, a total of 235 properties and 182 tour operators have embraced and committed to align with the new trends and traveler’s expectation on safety and health protocols.  The BTB continues to encourage all tourism stakeholders to embrace the Gold Standard program, and reminds stakeholders that additional marketing opportunities will be afforded to those entities who are certified.  

The Gold Standard program has also been expanded and now includes hotels, tour operators, stand-alone restaurants, gift shops, tourism sites and attractions, and transport such as taxis and car rentals.  Work continues to certify other tourism partners such as domestic air carriers and water taxis, to name a few.
LATA Virtual Expo 

LATA Expo (once known as ELA) is a three-day B2B event in London which takes place in June each year; however, the show took a virtual format this year and ran for five business days from October 12-16. Each exhibitor had pre-scheduled meetings with qualified buyers. Travel Trade Team joined the UK team in the appointments to create engagement with the trade and further develop existing and new relationships to recover tourism services. Some highlights of our discussions about the COVID environment in Belize, Gold Standard Program, Accessibility, Entry requirements, and our Belize Specialist Program on the OTT website.
CATA Virtual Road Show

On October 21-30, the Travel Trade Team took part in the Central America Virtual Roadshow Europe organized by CATA. The event provided Central American suppliers an opportunity to network with wholesalers based in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands. Each CATA member country received a virtual pavilion for their stakeholders. There were 14 Gold Standard stakeholders registered under the Belize pavilion: Victoria House, Portofino Beach Resort, Sirenian Bay Resort, May-One Resort, Barefoot Services, Radisson Ft. George Hotel, Best Western Belize Biltmore, Ramon’s Village Resort, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Tropic Air Ltd., Belize Hotel Association, Caves Branch, Splash Dive Center, and BTIA.

Each day of the event, Belize conducted a 10-minute presentation to attendees from the respective countries.
Become a Belize Travel Specialist!

We designed the Belize Travel Specialist Program to give travel advisors a well-rounded knowledge of Belize as a travel destination. Benefits of the Belize Travel Specialist Program include Priority consideration for familiarization trips; recognition on TravelBelize.org where visitors can search for qualified Specialist agents in their area; Invitations to attend exclusive events; Printable diploma certifying their status as an official Belize Travel Agent Specialist; a wide range of marketing tools and resources to help promote and sell Belize. To enroll in the program, visit travelacademy.com. UK Agents can enroll in the program here.
Be a Part of Our Online Community!

The Belize Travel Advisors & Friends is a private Facebook Group where Travel Advisors can interact with Belize Suppliers. Learn about the positive things happening in Belize amidst the pandemic and share personal experiences about Belize. We encourage you to be sociable and share with your other travel advisor colleagues.
Here's a snippet of some of our inspirational social posts sharing the message that #BelizeAwaits and to #StayCurious during this time.
Share & Earn

What’s new in your neck of the woods - a tour, new cooking class at your property, or an expansion? If you are Gold Standard certified,  let us know at industryrelations@belizetourismboard.org and we will share the news with our international media and trade in an effort to earn coverage and exposure for you.
More virtual press trips are coming up soon!!

Gold Standard certified and want to be a part of this? Send us an email today.
SITCA Virtual Workshops for Tourism Service Providers

A series of free virtual workshops for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) aimed at  equipping stakeholders with the digital tools necessary to adapt to the new norm as the tourism industry recovers.

November 23: Online Platforms to Digitalize Operations
December 01: Configure Marketing Campaigns and Market Intelligence
Vote for our Jewel

The November 13 deadline is approaching to vote for Belize as Best Destination: Central/South America for Travel Weekly’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.
In our next edition:

A glimpse into our paid media strategy
New Exhale Assets