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BTB launches “Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund Campaign”

It was in September that two category five hurricanes, Irma and Maria, ripped through several Caribbean countries leaving massive destruction in its wake.  A number of people died while others were left homeless without food, electricity or water. In an effort to help these stricken countries, today, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) officially launched a “Dollar for the Caribbean Relief Fund campaign”. Noriko Gamero, Director of Cruise & Destination Planning tells us more.

Noriko Gamero –Director of Cruise & Destination Planning

“We have embarked on this initiative in collaboration with our tourism stakeholders in trying to create an awareness for the relief campaign for the Caribbean in lieu of the Caribbean impact from Maria and Irma and the devastation that they have left behind. Us as the Caribbean we are all members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization which we fall under the logo of One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean and in unison of that we really want to take on the lead of donating a dollar for every arrival for every arrival and we are reaching out to all stakeholders and create this multiplier effect and also donate a dollar. So for example, if you have a hotel and you have 50 guests you can donate $50 dollars but that same guest might go on a tour and then the tour operator might take ten of those guests and donate $10 and so forth creating a larger impact. The way it works for stakeholders to participate is that they will be able to collect the funds individually and either weekly or at the end of the month to the bank account at Heritage Bank- and the Belize Tourism Board has created a separate account for that and at the end of the month we will donate the funds to the CTO organization.”

John Burgos, Executive Director of Belize Tourism Industry & Association and Ted Tejada, President of the Belize Hotel Association were also on hand for today’s launch. They were more than happy to be partnering with BTB in this initiative.

John Burgos – Executive Director of Belize Tourism Industry & Association

“In this time of need it is only fitting for us to be able to stand in solidarity and render and render our support in any way possible with this great initiative that the BTB has managed to pull together the private sector is definitely in support of this initiative and we are going to be encouraging our members to not only support in the manner that the BTB has requested but also to consider for additional funds that could be contributed to hurricane relief efforts.”

Ted Tejada – President of the Belize Hotel Association

“During this time of need there are many islands that were devastated, there are many islands that greatly depended on tourism that was their main source of income and just taking it into perspective that Belize, 48% of the economy of this country depends on tourism and if a hurricane like that would hit us we would be devastated and some of these islands would take six months to get electricity back; we want to be able to help them in a small amount by contributing whatever we can. The initiative that BTB has started is a dollar per person, anyone that would like to contribute more than that is more than welcome. This initiative is going to be very transparent- the BTB will be giving us a report on how the money was invested, what projects it funded at the end of the day.”

Gamero also spoke about how the funds will be distributed and how those who are interested can donate.

Noriko Gamero –Director of Cruise & Destination Planning

“The current month undergoing for October the Ministries of the Different Islands that are affected will send different proposals or need assessments and based on that we will say how we can maximize the funds collected. If we collect a million dollars it will go a long way in comparison to $250,000 that might be collected at which point at the end of December we can say that this will be able to best maximize in food, water, medicine, equipment for reconstruction so that is what the needs assessment is undergoing as we speak. So for all stakeholders that would like to participate we heed that you please donate to the Heritage Bank account under the name Belize Tourism Hurricane Relief account number 9131283.”