Belize Tourism Board Announces New Director of Tourism
Belize City, Belize – March 10, 2010 – The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is excited to introduce its new Director of Tourism. Expected to assume her post in April of 2010, Seleni Matus brings more than 10 years of experience in leading large-scale initiatives that have helped to mainstream sustainable tourism principles into key sectors of the tourism industry. Matus, a born Belizean, spent the last several years in the U.S. and will be transferring back to her homeland to step in after former Director of Tourism Mrs. Tracy Panton’s 12-year reign. Under Matus’ new leadership, the BTB will continue to generate global awareness of Belize as a premier Caribbean/Central American adventure and nature tourism destination.
“I look forward to working with tourism stakeholders to open a new chapter in sustainable tourism development in Belize. One that brings new strategies for taking Belize’s compelling story about our rich culture, magnificent barrier reef, unspoiled landscapes and friendliness of our people to key tourism markets by fully embracing new media, while working with the local industry to ensure that we deliver on the promise that Belize is Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret,” said Matus, the BTB’s newly appointed Director of Tourism. “I am honored to have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Government of Belize, private sector and civil society to strengthen the tourism industry, which is critical for the country’s economic growth and the well being of its people.”
Belize’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honorable Manuel Heredia, Jr., affirmed the importance of this change. “We recognize that we need fresh ideas and new approaches and strategies to sustain and accelerate growth of Belize’s tourism industry in a fiercely competitive global environment. We stand ready to work with the new Director of Tourism to put into action innovative solutions that will redefine business as usual.”
Matus brings a wealth of experience in tourism to the BTB, having worked in various capacities with Conservation International’s (CI) Center for Environmental Leadership in Business and its Ecotourism Department. At CI, Matus worked throughout Mexico and Central America to engage members of the private sector and governments to implement destination-level sustainable management plans and programs; in particular, for the cruise and hotel sectors, which have enhanced the quality of tourism products offered and helped to ensure the long-term health of natural ecosystems. In addition, Matus developed a wide range of tourism planning and supply chain management tools, and provided capacity-building and technical assistance to CI’s country programs throughout Latin America.
Matus’ professional experience is deeply grounded in Belize, where she guided the development and implementation of the country’s national tour guide training and certification program. Additionally, Matus managed Programme for Belize, a leading conservation organization, tour operation and tourism facilities. Matus was also instrumental in the establishment of the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico), serving as a founding member and its first president.
Matus holds a Masters Degree in Corporate Strategy and Governance from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s Degree in Personnel Management from Viterbo College in the U.S.