Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Belize Tourism Industry Association has elected Osmany Salas of the BTIA’s Orange Walk Chapter as its new national president.
At the association’s 29th Annual General Meeting held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, Salas emphasized that increasing the association’s membership is a top priority.
“We have lost some members over the years; we need to do what we have to do to regain those members and expand the association,” Salas said. “Key to that is to establish chapters where we currently do not have any, for example in Belmopan and the Belize District”, he continued.
Salas explained that great potential exists for expanding the association’s membership, and pointed to the fact that of the total restaurants in the country only four percent are members of the BTIA.
He added that in the coming months the association intends to strengthen its relationship with the Belize Tourism Board (BTB).
He succeeds past-president, Herbert Haylock, who served for two years.
The AGM gathered stake holders from all over the country in all sectors of tourism industry including hotel owners tour operators, and restaurant owners.
Director of the BTB Karen Bevans also made remarks at the AGM emphasizing how the industry has grown in Belize since the 1990’s from being an abstract concept to the second largest revenue earner for the country.
Tourism also employs one in every seven persons. Twenty-five years ago, less than two thousand Belizeans worked in the overnight sector in hotels across the country,” Bevans said.
The BTIA was formed on April 26, 1985 as a broad-based tourism umbrella organization. In 2006 the organization became registered under the Revised 2000 NGO Act, Chapter 315 of the Laws of Belize.