27 Reasons Belize Is Fast Becoming the Ecotourism Capital of the World
Long before other Caribbean nations decided to take a stand on the subject of sustainability and ecotourism, Belize did just that. From government initiatives and laws to tourism professionals and, importantly, the people of Belize, the nation has become so committed to the cause, the world’s press is taking note and writing about this phenomenon. How eco-friendly is Belize? The following 27 facts may impress you.
1. In 1980, Belize adopted sustainability practices long before other Caribbean communities.
2. Belize landowners founded a sanctuary for Belize’s indigenous howler monkey populace who were becoming endangered.
3. Seven villages made up of 200 local landowners joined those efforts to save howler monkeys from extinction.
4. Over 1/3 of Belize’s landmass is protected by government laws and oversight practices.
5. Belize’s Barrier Reef system is consistently monitored for conservation abuses.
6. Thirteen percent of all Belize waters have been declared off limits to help spur fish population growth.
7. Villagers in the Toledo District started building houses of fast-renewing, locally-grown materials in the 80s.
8. The Toledo Ecotourism Association is aggressively promoting Belize’s commitment to sustainability.
9. The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) is working to combat illegal poaching, fishing and logging.
10. TIDE launched Tide Tours to train guides for excursions, proceeds of which benefit the community.
11. Glover’s Reef atoll has been declared a no-take marine reserve where fishing is prohibited.
12. Rio Bravo Conservation and Management is keeping watch over 260,000 acres of tropical rain forest.
13. Rio Bravo is the largest private wildlife preserve in Belize, home to endangered ocelots and jaguars.
14. The Rio Bravo consortium also monitors more than 400 species of birds and 200 indigenous tree species.
15. The public business sector has joined citizens and the government to boost Belize eco-tourism efforts.
16. Mayan ruins in disrepair due to weathering, age and climate change are under the protection of The Program for Belize managed by the Nature Conservatory.
17. Monitoring continues to be stringent in the areas of deforestation, over-fishing and oil exploration.
18. The village of Placencia is limiting the number of cruise ships docking in port due to potential damage to the environment.
19. The Placencia Tour Operators Association has initiated sanctions against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to protect the environment.
20. Resort guests notified of Belize’s green movement are encouraged to ask for less frequent bed and bath linen exchanges.
21. Eco-lodges are being built throughout Belize that prioritize the use of recycled rainwater and solar power.
22. Tourists are encouraged to buy locally-produced goods and urged to avoid buying illegal items made from endangered species.
23. Resorts advise guests to conserve energy by turning off lights and electrical items when leaving their rooms.
24. When visiting Belize’s Barrier Reef, visitors are warned by tour guides not to touch or otherwise disturb the reef’s delicate surface areas.
25. There’s an old-fashioned hand-cranked ferry in constant use in Belize that won’t be replaced any time soon!
26. Belize’s creative efforts to rid Belize waters of predatory Lionfish includes the ancient art of spearfishing.