Belize Launches ‘Small Country Sunday’ Shopping Holiday
PHOTO: San Pedro, Belize. (Photo by Brian Major).
While Belize is one of the Caribbean’s fastest-growing destinations, it’s also one of its smallest countries. Belize is so small that the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) admits “no success” in its efforts in recent years to promote travel to the country during the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping periods in the U.S.
As a result, BTB officials have chosen to establish November 29 as “Small Country Sunday,” a new “shopping holiday” focused on encouraging travelers to book small-scale destination travel offering “a unique, memorable vacation.” BTB is inviting travelers to share the news via social media, explaining why they like to “travel small” and using the hashtag #SmallCountrySunday.
“We’re thrilled to announce this initiative,” said Karen Bevans, BTB’s director of tourism. “Small Country Sunday is a movement to connect travelers to countries like Belize, who struggle to compete with the big budgets and infrastructure that many larger countries have,” said Bevans. “This program will directly impact the livelihood of many small business owners and families who rely on tourism,” she added.
Belize’s tourism industry accounts for 14 percent of total employment and 23 percent of the total GDP, said Bevans. The country’s overnight visitor arrivals have grown 16 percent in the past three years.
Belize’s tourism surge continued in 2014, when the country hosted 321,217 visitors, a 9.2 percent increase over 2013 according to Caribbean Tourism Organization data. Belize’s cruise ship visits also soared in 2014, with the 968,131 cruise ship arrivals hosted last year representing a whopping 49 percent increase over 2013
Small Country Sunday aims to “keep the momentum going,” said Bevans. BTB is inviting “small countries, travelers and tourism industry professionals” to “join in and spread the word.”
Consumers can enter the contest by following the Belize Tourism Board on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook; and explaining why they want to “travel small” in 2016. Visitors must use the #SmallCountrySunday to be entered into a random drawing at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, Nov. 29.
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