Celebrating The Launch of Destination Belize Magazine 2016-2017

The past three months have been incredibly busy–as you’ve likely noticed around here! But no news is good news sometimes–various assignments and clients have trickled in, and I am currently on my next round of Moon Belize and Belize Cayes updates (2017 editions) for Moon Travel Guides.

I’ll start with the most exciting piece of news.

A few months ago I shared that Belize’s top publishing company McNab Visual Strategies hired me to >> join the editorial team for the new, revamped Destination Belize Magazine–the premier tourism publication by the Belize Tourism Industry Association. This week, the magazine was finally released. It is already making its way to airports, hotels, embassies, and key sights in Belize, as well as to overseas Belize consulates.

I joined the editorial team–made up of McNab Visual Strategies, the BTIA, the Belize Tourism Board, and Oceana–after a theme for the publication had already been selected, a rough outline of content produced and various contributors had been called to submit articles.

My role at that point, was two-fold:

1. To write several key pieces for the magazine: the theme article (“Travel Curious”); each of the district introductions and destination introductions; a couple of short pieces describing the two magazine cover locations; an article on festivals; and an as told to piece from a celebrity interview. In total, I believe that makes up 20 pieces for the 2016-2017 Destination Belize Magazine.

Snapshots are below of the pieces I authored (make sure you grab a copy of the magazine at the airport, in hotel rooms, or key sights around Belize when you visit). To read a digital copy of the whole magazine, click here.

2. To substantively edit, and review each article received from the various contributors, as well as every piece of writing submitted (including welcome letters from the various editorial committee members, for instance). Aside from multiple editing rounds, grammatical restructuring, and proofing, I created headlines and subtitles (or hed/dek in writer speak), supplemented text and wrote in additional data where incomplete, and advised on miscellaneous matters related to editing and to the magazine’s content. In some cases, I also advised on overall concerns on submitted content and advised for changes to make this a more trustworthy and expertly written publication for the reader and Belize visitor. It was great to work directly alongside McNab, who were responsive throughout and equally dedicated as I was to this important project as we worked from our respective locations.

On the last days prior to publication, all of us on the editorial committee poured our energies into reviewing and perfecting the final copy of McNab’s beautifully- designed magazine PDF proof.

Working on Destination Belize Magazine as an editor and writer was one of my biggest projects thus far this year (aside from finishing writing and illustrating a 350-page edition of Moon Dominican Republic guidebook from scratch), and one of the most enjoyable. I loved writing about Belize’s various districts (as I have done many times in the past for other types of assignments), and editing the various experts’ articles submitted, from Oceana to the Belize Zoo. It was also a great learning experience for future editorial projects and clients.

I am honored to have played a big role for such an important tourism publication for Belize, and I am proud to have worked alongside an amazing group of talented Belizeans – particularly my client Tanya McNab and McNab Visual Strategies who brought me on and trusted in my experience throughout the process.


Certainly not last, a big thanks also goes to Talia Tillett (below) of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, who has followed my travel writing career and my Belize expertise for the past six years, and was the one to recommend my work to McNab Designs and to the editorial committee. 

Enjoy the full video clip below from the press conference held to unveil the new Destination Belize Magazine. Or you can click on the second clip to jump directly into my speech (minus the first couple of sentences).

Meanwhile my busy guidebook schedule continues–I’ve barely had time to celebrate my accomplishment properly, but I’m sure I will when I am done with my current assignment for my publisher Moon Travel Guides. I’m excited to produce another great round of editions of Moon Belize and Belize Cayes.

Cheers to an upcoming successful tourism season in Belize!

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Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning, Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize, Moon Belize Cayes, and Moon Dominican Republic (October 2016). Her work focuses on Caribbean culture and adventure, and has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among many others. Lily is also the 2016 recipient of the Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism for her Caribbean coverage, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–she speaks four languages fluently and has lived in Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, the Dominican Republic and traveled to some 30+ countries around the world. Last but not least, she is a former corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue her dream of becoming a storyteller. Lily holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

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  1. Lola 11 October, 2016 at 8:12 PM #

    Congratulations Lily!! This is so amazing and I’m super proud and honored to follow your journey to becoming such a powerhouse on all things Belize (and the Caribbean, frankly!).

  2. Lebawit Lily Girma 9 November, 2016 at 10:31 AM #

    Aw thank you so much, my dear Lola! It means a lot to me to have your support, still after all these years. You were there when I started. 🙂 Much love to you! (And P.S. Apologies for the late reply – my Mac died while in Belize doing the guidebook updates, and have been computerless for three weeks!).

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