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Travel Trade Experts participate in BTB Forum

Belize City, Belize – November 14, 2011 – On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, the Belize Tourism Board, in collaboration with its Travel Trade Agency of Record, JG Blackbook of Travel, conducted a focus group workshop with over 60 local hoteliers and tour operators on How to Reach the US Travel Trade Market.  The Travel Trade team conducted a series of workshops earlier this year leading up to this forum to solidify interest and continue relationship building with the tourism community both locally and internationally.

Key topics included the importance of building relationships with wholesalers and understanding the US market and its expectations. The focus group presented insights from top industry specialists, among them Mauricio Leyton and Helen Nodland from the prominent Virtuoso. With Virtuoso being one of the world’s largest networks of the world’s finest travel agencies, knowledgeable advisors draw upon first-hand experience to craft the perfect vacation for travelers. Top wholesalers from Frontiers, Black Tomato, Great Getaways, Travel Beyond, Currie & Company and Brownell Travel also participated in the focus group.

The event commenced with a welcome address from the Director of Marketing, Yanick Dalhouse, followed by an introduction of the Travel Trade Team, its purpose, accomplishments and plans for the remaining quarter. Jena Gardner, President and CEO of JG Blackbook of Travel,  presented on topics that relate to the current trends in the industry and Belize’s stance in the midst of the world tourism sector. Gardner also shared her thoughts what the future holds for Belize in tourism.

Katie Nodland, Destinations Manager of JG Blackbook, gave a summary of the agency’s activities and accomplishments to date as it relates to the relationship with the Belize Tourism Board, their goals for the upcoming year and highlighted opportunities for the local hoteliers and tour operators to participate.  

In the latter part of the afternoon, an expert panel session was conducted by Cindy Smith, a representative from one of the top wholesalers, Frontiers, who spoke on the protocols for a successful FAM Trip with discussion highlights from Jim Bendt of Travel Beyond, Owen Gladdis of Currie & Company, Rebecca Falkenberry of Brownell Travel, Omar Khalil of Black Tomato and Ken Marshall of Great Getaways. Further discussions on the topics were done in smaller roundtable discussions, followed by feedback from each group.

For more information and questions about the Travel Trade Workshop, feel free to contact Michelle Bowers the Travel Trade Department at the Belize Tourism Board Office at 227-2420 or

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