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Belize leading move toward sustainable tourism

By Slickrock Adventures on February 15, 2012

One of several solar panel installations that power our resort

Rain water barrels provide drinking water

As tropical resorts go, our Adventure Island on Long Caye occupies a rather unique niche in the travel industry because it is so remote, unpopulated and has been developed in such a low-impact, eco-friendly way. But it turns out we’re not alone — the Belize tourism industry as a whole is at the leading edge of what is now being called the move toward a more “sustainable tourism.”

Award-winning travel writer and Editor at Large at National Geographic Traveler in 2011, Costas Christ, has been named Belize’s Global Ambassador for Tourism and wrote this interesting article for Destination Belize:

When it comes to tourism, Belize has a very special history. Two decades ago, Belize hosted the first-ever World Congress on Tourism and the Environment, which helped to give birth to modern day ecotourism. It was in Belize that the world gathered to discuss the issues of tourism and protection of cultural and natural heritage—what today is popularly known as sustainable tourism: travel that helps to protect biodiversity, support cultural diversity, and improve the livelihoods of local people in tourism destinations around the world.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, sustainable tourism may be the most significant transformation in the history of modern travel. And Belize has played a key role in this global transformation—about how to have a great vacation and also give back to local people and the planet. The tiny country of Belize is proud of the big role it has played in helping to promote a new vision for tourism.

As an editor with National Geographic Traveler, I can say personally from my travels to more than 100 countries across six continents that, when it comes to rich cultural heritage, incredible nature on land and sea, spectacular beauty and a truly warm and friendly people, Belize makes my own top five list of the world’s best places to see and experience.

On a planet where one hotel increasingly looks the same as another, where pristine nature is increasingly rare, and where culture has often become homogenized, authenticity has become the real luxury in travel; and Belize is all about authenticity.

To share in Belize’s special sense of place, and to surround yourself with the country’s rich and vibrant cultural traditions, all you need to carry with you is an open mind and a smile. These two things are easy to pack and bring the greatest reward. For years, Belize has prided itself on being “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret.” Now Belizeans have decided to let that secret out for others to discover and enjoy. And just as importantly, you can come be a part of Belize’s sustainable tourism efforts in protecting these treasures for future generations.