Speaking at the Ft. Lauderdale ceremony earlier in June, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation said, "Today marks a new milestone for our country, as we bolster our presence in North America, but also as we fortify our partnership with Southwest Airlines. This new service to Belize is a resounding reaffirmation that Belize continues to be a growing, viable and a must-go destination in the Caribbean and Latin American Travel Market. I am happy to say that we remain committed and today serves as yet another example of how Team Belize is ensuring that our jewel remains accessible to the North American market and beyond."
In Belize, the Belize Tourism Board organized a brief ceremony which included short addresses by Jorge Espat, Chief Executive Officer of the BACC, Adrienne Galanek, Chargé d'Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Belize, Yashin Dujon, CEO in the Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation and Linda Neal, Southwest Station Manager, a raffle give away courtesy of Victoria House and Maya Island Air as well as a cultural presentation by the Precision Dance Group.
The ceremony also included a cutting of the symbolic ribbon, a water canon salute upon the aircraft's arrival and give-aways to both arriving and departing passengers, courtesy of BTB.
Among the dignitaries on the inaugural flight were senior Southwest officials namely, Jack Smith, Sr. Vice President Operations, Brian Parrish, Operational Communications, Chris Fisher, Network Planning and Kimberly Wood, Operations.
"Currently Southwest has been expanding its operations in Central America and Belize is an important destination for us. We are thankful for the partnership that has evolved and grown continuously between Belize and Southwest," Mr. Jack Smith said.
Only three months ago Southwest introduced its first flight from Denver, Colorado to Belize, through a non-stop service. The airline also offers regular non-stop service from Hobby International in Houston. The Ft. Lauderdale - Belize flight will provide yet another direct connection, from the east coast of the United States.
The flight will operate daily from a new, five-gate international Concourse A at Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Terminal 1 that opened just as the summer travel season kicks off.
The new flight will make it easier for travelers to enjoy the beauty, the myriad attractions and warm hospitality of Belize at a time when the tourism industry is poised for further growth.