BTB says Swaney murder hasn’t hurt tourism, yet

By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB), this week, said it is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of tourists while mitigating the negative impact of Anne Swaney’s murder last week.

Noriko Gamero, BTB Marketing and Public Relations manager said the industry has not seen any negative effects in regards to arrival rates yet, considering the horrific murder of the 39-year-old journalist.

Gamero said one of the measure’s the BTB is assuring tourists that these incidents do not occur often.

“One of the things we want to ensure, is that this attracted media coverage because of the rarity of it, for a traveller to be exposed to such crime in Belize,” she said.

Gamero said the tourism industry has not yet felt the impact of the Swaney murder because at the moment, tourists that are coming into the country were already pre-booked. The BTB has received communication from stakeholders, however, that some tourists have expressed concern over the level of safety.

If there is to be a negative impact, the BTB said, it will be felt around March.

Gamero said the Board has been gathering different approaches, working with partner agents, to increase the level of safety for local travelers and tourists.

The police department, on their side, has also implemented approaches to heighten security by increasing policing and surveillance around tourist areas. The BTB said it is even looking into the placement of BDF soldiers in certain areas.

Swaney was murdered by the Macal riverside while doing yoga. The police found her body in the river showing signs of strangulation. Police investigation has yielded no leads into the murder up to this point.
Swaney’s murder has been making international headlines causing tourists to question whether it is safe to travel to the country.

“Colleague Anne Swaney was strangled while on vacation in Belize,” ABC news reported. The United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also joined the investigation into her death.

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