Tourism board makes the best of a ‘Bad’ situation

When ‘going to Belize’ became a euphemism for an undesirable trip on ‘Breaking Bad,’ the country didn’t get defensive. It seized the opportunity.

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In a recent episode, the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman (played brilliantly by Bob Odenkirk) suggests that a troublesome character could be euphemistically “sent to Belize.” It didn’t mean mojitos and coastal sunsets, unless that’s your idea of the afterlife.

Fans smirked at the reference, and the Belize Tourism Board noticed. But instead of getting mad and overreacting, as some might have done, or shrugging, as most would have done, the Belize group saw an opportunity.

The board moved quickly to take advantage of the mention and to turn a negative reference into positive visibility for the destination. A few days after the episode aired, Belize invited show creator Vince Gilligan and its key cast members, including stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, to enjoy an actual vacation in Belize, all expenses paid. The invite was filled with the kind of inside-baseball details that only a true “Breaking Bad” fan would know, such as Walter Jr.’s enduring love of breakfast foods, and the timing was ideal, since the show recently wrapped filming after five successful seasons. The cast is surely in need of some creative down time (though they’re all presumably well able to pay their own way).

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