Richard Smith is running next year as an independent candidate in Belmopan for the March 2015 municipal elections.
As a part of his political mandate, he is rounding up Belize entrepreneurs, in an effort to breathe life again into Belmopan businesses, by tapping into the tourism industry.
Today, a handful of Belizean entrepreneurs were invited to an extensive meeting in Belmopan. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a network of information between various businessmen and women in Belmopan- The Belize Business Network. BBN for short.
“Belmopan Business Network is to create a Belmopan Business Awareness. There’s a lot of organisations that are advocating for business, but it is out there for everybody and a lot of small businesses get run over.
For example, if you go to booking.com, if you go to tripadvisor, expedia.com, and type in ‘Belmopan hotels’, it will bring you five hotels at Belmopan and a bunch in San Ignatio, etcetera, under the name of Belmopan.
Well, we feel if we’re going to see business grow in Belmopan, we need to have a local ‘Destination Belmopan’ promotion. So BBN is basically looking at promoting local Belmopan businesses, and to try to highlight areas of where businesses can increase their initiative through networking at internet and so forth.
So today, specifically what we’re doing is calling for what you call a Stakeholders’ Meeting, to look at how the BTB says that there’s going to be a million guests coming to Belize for this next year.
If that be the case, Belmopan must be asking the question, how do we fit in there and what will it take to get us up to that level, to qualify us to [get] more guests / tourists within our area, identify the thinks that would be of interest for tourism.”
According to Richard Smith, Belmopan’s Central location makes it ideal for Tourism.
“Belmopan as a city, the Capital, does not have a Welcome Center, Information Center, where you could stage that information for information for tourists to tap into.
Also understanding the potential of this City of Belmopan, because we’re just a stone’s throw away from the ATM Cave. We’re a stone’s throw away from Banana Bank that does horseback riding. We’re a stone’s throw away from Zip-lining, Cave Tubing, the Blue Hole, and St Herman’s Cave. All this kind of stuff is just a stone’s throw away from us.
So, tourists don’t mind drive from here to there, sleep in Belmopan. But here’s a weak link that we see that is not happening. San Ignacio is 30 minutes away from the ATM Cave. So when you go on line they will go to San Ignacio to stay, because it’s 30 minutes away from. If we can release the information that we’re 10 minutes away from ATM Cave, we will be first in line to capture the hotel overnight stay, and even restaurants will get better business.
So that is what BBN is trying to create, that we will offer an initiative to say we will market bour own initiative.”
BBN also expressed interest in reviving the Belmopan Museum. In mid November, Richard Smith, along with business stake holders, embark on an initiative to occupy Sir George Brown Field and make it a habitable environment for safe, child friendly fun.
“On the fifteenth of November, we have already occupied George Brown Field, where we will be having food courts to encourage food vendors to come on line. Let’s get our international foods going. As well as display of these resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and restaurants that will be out there.
The Dark Nights will be coming with their mini-zip-line in the kid’s section at the Park, where we’ll be doing a little mini=zip-line, teaching kids how to zip-line.
A lot of us, we go to the zip-line and we get scared, because see it so far. It’s high up. So here’s a basic introduction.
We are entertaining Dark Nights, as well Cavetubing.bz will be coming with us.
So if we could attract all of these, we are going to show Belmopan that we are ready for tourism.”
Richard Smith is running for Mayor in Belmopan under the banner CPR, Christians Pursuing Reform.