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BTB’s Annual Conference looks at Sustainable & Culinary Tourism

Today, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) held its annual conference under the theme “Sustainable Tourism and its Impact on the Belize Market” at the Ramada Princess Hotel &Casino. Marketing & Public Relations Manager, Jocelle Stephen tells us more.


Jocelle Stephen – Marketing & Public Relations Manager

So this event is actually an annual event where we decide that it’s important for stakeholders to meet together for us BTB to share  and edify them on trending topics. Sustainable tourism as I mentioned prior is very very important to the sustainability of tourism. If we don’t practice this we will have nothing to sell as a tourism product hence why we thought this was a good topic for us to share with the stakeholders. So every year we do this, we select a theme, we select speakers and we ask international speakers to come in as experts and share their expertise, recommendations and experience on how Belize can move forward within that specific theme.

Sustainable Tourism is already being practiced in Belize by some resorts and BTB hopes that others will adopt this practice as well.


Jocelle Stephen – Marketing & Public Relations Manager

“So yes we do have stakeholders practicing sustainable tourism . Chaa Creek who recently won an award actually and we also have Hamanasi. So we felt it was good for everyone to hear from stakeholders themselves how their journey has been in sustainable tourism. What are the challenges, what do you consider some of the strengths of Belize, what do you consider the weaknesses, what do we need to do to improve, what do we actually need to do to enhance. So this year the conference will actually hear from three stakeholders that we hope it inspires others to say yes that this is working for Chaa Creek maybe I can do something so that we all have that community effort in promoting Belize as a sustainable tourism destination.”

Love News was able to speak with representatives from those resorts who told us about the benefits of Sustainable Tourism. Seleem Chan is the Sustainability Manager of Hamanasi Resort and Burga Patterson is the Director of Sales & Special Events of Gaya River.


Seleem Chan – Sustainability Manager

“For example like monitoring our utilities we recently had an underground leak and we were able to identify that leak by monitoring our water consumption on a daily basis so for example at home we use water, we use electricity and we are not aware or do not know what we consume until we get the bill at the end of the month because we don’t really monitor our water use or our electricity use but at Hamanasi it’s different we have a system where we monitor all of our utilities and with this example water we were able to identify and locate the breakage underground, fix it and save the company an amount of money. So that is something that benefits us as a property.”

Burga Patterson – Director of Sales & Special Events

“My special presentation was about the farm to table experience which means we spoke about the vegetables and fruits that we grow at the lodge and serve to our guests to give them a unique experience. We have an organic garden and we have a certified Mayan organic gardener who actually tends to the garden so on the garden tour the guests see the Chaya bush and the learn about the health benefits of Chaya and then they can have a Mayan breakfast which is scrambled eggs and Chaya and homemade corn tortillas and then of course it goes along with fresh fruits.”


Joxan Obando, Director of Operations of Greentique Hotels of Costa Rica, was one of the presenters at today’s conference who spoke about Culinary Tourism, which is an emerging trend that is being embraced by many tourist destination.


Joxan Obando – Director of Operations

“I think what we are doing and recommending is to being a process where sustainable food is part of the experience that means that not only serving good food but also going back to the roots, going back to the family recipes and taking advantage of a lot of influence from the Caribbean that we have here and use those products to stand out and make a difference within the food of the Caribbean. A lot of it is already being used but there is still a lot of things that we can use that are not being used today.”


“Could you touch on what you presented in today’s conference.”

Joxan Obando – Director of Operations

“We talked a little bit about sustainable and how important it is to understand where products are coming from, the sourcing of the products, we talk about using more local products than imported products as part of the tourism trend, using more local products and how that benefits from the economic marketing point of view.”