Anne Swaney, the Executive Producer of online operations at ABC7 was murdered in Belize about two weeks ago. Swaney was found dead floating in the Macal River partially nude. She was staying at the Nabitunich Farm Resort when she went missing and her body was recovered the next day. Love News spoke to Javier Paredez who is the Director of Business Development at the Belize Tourism Board who spoke on the issue stating that BTB have been engaging in plans to fight crime against foreigners.
“What BTB is doing is that we are engaging the Ministry of National Security and seeing what short term plans and long term plans can be developed to combat crime against foreigners but also crime against locals because we can be tourists in our own country also and we don’t want locals to be travelling and experiencing or being exposed to these types of situations. We have engaged stakeholders, we’ve reached out to them, we’ve sent them a press release, we’ve guided them in terms of how to respond when there are people who are interested in booking with them reach out to them and express concern on the crime situation, what are some of the talking points you can use to assure them that Belize is a safe destination and this really is a very isolated incident. The murder of a tourist is very isolated and infrequent.”
For days Belize was in the headlines on many US new sites. We asked how the murder of a tourist has affected or will affect tourist arrivals.
“We are monitoring the effect and we are glad to say that so far we have received very little news in terms of cancellations but we know that cancellations can come at the point of bookings. Someone can decide not to come to Belize and that will take a two month window to monitor and assess; so we are following very closely, we are engaged and we are monitoring any negative impact on business or arrivals. So far that remains to be seen. Apart from that we do what we already do, we have the tourism police on high alert through the police department. We also at the BTB have a quick response office to respond to these types of incidents and reach out to who are affected.”
No one has been charged for the death of Anne Swaney as yet.