Belize tourism promotes “experiences”

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2016. 3:41 p.m..CST.

By Aaron Humes: A new series of ads for the Belize Tourism Board, created by the Olson agency, aims to re-define the Belizean experience for potential visitors.

Long marketed as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret,” and later as a place to “Discover How to Be,” the new ads describe the Jewel as “A Curious Place,” pointing out some of the quirks of a land best known for pristine white beaches, turquoise sea and no shortage of activity despite being a tranquil haven.

Olson’s Kevin McKeon says the experience is now the thing; it is about more than tourism, but about travelers who want something more.

Thus, one spot explains there are no fast food chains in Belize but shows a street vendor whipping up tacos at the speed of light. We also meet “Coconut Leo” and a Mayan cacao bean farmer who apparently spends his days propelled by chocolate alone.

The playful ads, narrated by a Belizean, are intended to convey not just a sense of the remarkable location but also the warmth of Belizean people themselves.

The ads also jab at the millennial obsession with social media, touting improvements to the Facebook and Instagram timeline. Belize has grown American travel by 12 percent per year on average, with record breaking growth of 20 percent in 2015 and 2016 while spending less on media advertisements.

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