Recently Toronto had the opportunity to play host to a lovely group of
reps from Belize who descended on our chilly nation with warm tidings on how to
Toronto was the last stop of a 3 city Canadian tour where 60 agents
gathered at the Novotel Hotel last week for an opportunity to chat
with suppliers and learn about this small but fascinating Central American
country. According to Karen Pike, Director Marketing & Industry Relations
for the Tourist Board, the majority of their visitors come
from the U.S, with the UK and Canada rounding out the 2nd and
3rd top spots. A show of hands during the presentation portion of the evening revealed
that about half of the attendees had visited Belize, and more had already sent
clients there. Although there are currently no direct flights from
Canada, connecting flights leave daily from many North American
cities including Newark, Chicago and Miami to name a few, making getting
Be adventurous: Getting around while in the country is easy too. In
response to one agents inquiry about excursion arrangements, Ted Tejada,
general manager Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel suggested a less
structured approach. “Canadians like to be organized and have everything
planned before they go somewhere. What I suggest is to go there and rent a car.
Drive around on your own and see what you’d like to do.” The roads are
safe and with just 4 major highways (running in all 4 cardinal directions),
any route will lead to adventure.
In the West visitors can explore impressive caving
systems, rivers, waterfalls, ancient Maya archaeological sites and
lush jungles. Further down in the Southeast is Cockscomb basin Wildlife
Sanctuary, the world’s only jaguar preserve. On the East coast diving and
marine enthusiasts can swim with exotic sea life along the Western
Hemisphere's largest barrier reef which earned World Heritage
designation in 1996.
and Southern regions offer equally interesting opportunities as well
thanks to the rich mix of culture from the Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, East Indians
For an immersive experience, Deborah Gilharry, the Tourist Board‘s Senior
Travel Trade Officer suggests trying out the Maya Homestay Program where
visitors stay with a
Mayan family and participate in daily lifestyle activities, including
farming and learning to make various traditional foods such as chocolate and
Caldo (pork stew).
Be at pampered: Regardless of where visitors stay when visiting
Belize, the accommodations available are typically boutique style rather than
the big chains and all inclusives. One such boutique is Belcampo Lodge
& Farm that specializes in sustainable food production and agri-tourism.
With just 16 private suites, staying here is a truly cozy experience. Book
early though as this popular spot fills up quickly for months at a time.
And when is the best time to go? “All year round,” says Gilharry with a
smile. “It really depends on what your clients want.” Those looking
for deals can certainly find them during low season from June to November. The
rains come down during this time as well but should not be a deterrent.
"It will rain a bit, but the sun comes right back out again." The
country has also been fortunate to have not been hit by any hurricanes in the
past several decades.
Belize Gilharry concluded the evening by encouraging agents to become specialists. How?
process is easy and the benefits are many, such as access to fams and a tone of
useful marketing tools to help sell Belize.