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Belize Set To Be Sustainable Tourism World Leader in 2019

Building on successful sustainable tourism efforts across its compact, Belize is increasingly gaining recognition as a “go-to” destination for those seeking to experience a beautiful, unspoiled natural environment while maintaining its natural beauty and benefiting local residents alike. 

Sustainable tourism has longstanding deep roots in Belize, supported by everyday citizens, local entrepreneurs, NGOs, tour companies, and resorts around the country.

Back in the 1980s, when few people were aware of climate change or sustainability, residents of Punta Gorda, Belize, began building guest rooms using locally sourced materials, while also mobilizing to combat illegal logging and fishing that threatened their nascent ecotourism businesses. Their successful efforts preserved the beauty and cleanliness of their communities, attracting growing numbers of intrepid travelers from around the globe.

Today, the area boasts a network of intimate eco-lodges and locally-based tour companies that offer visits to local villages and nearby rainforests, kayaking tours and treks to uncrowded Mayan ruins

Similar efforts led by local residents in other parts of Belize have catapulted the creation of sustainable ecotourism destinations across the country. In the north, the Community Baboon Sanctuary was set up by residents of 7 adjacent villages, who agreed to preserve their land as a habitat for endangered black howler monkeys. In Northwest Belize’s Maya Forest, the 260,000 acre (105,000 hectare) Rio Bravo reserve teems with ocelots and jaguars, more than 400 bird species and 200 tree species. Meanwhile, along Belize’s coastline, Glover’s Reef was made a fishing-free sanctuary, protecting it from poaching while strengthening the natural biodiversity of the area.

Ecotourism in Belize is now getting an even further boost from the UK’s Richard Branson. The founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways has just led a two-week exploration of Belize’s Great Blue Hole, a sprawling marine sinkhole 70 km (46 miles) off the coast of Belize and home to exotic coral and countless marine species. This highly publicized scientific expedition will shed light on the Great Blue Hole features while building an understanding of how to best protect it and similar marine assets around the globe.

While all these eco-tourism attractions have piqued the interest of adventure travelers worldwide, Belize continues to work diligently to encourage and protect its environment. This year, for example, the Government of Belize (GOB) approved a proposal to ban the single use of plastics by April 2019. Concomitantly, the Belize Barrier Reef was removed from the list of endangered UNESCO sites thanks to a GOB legislation than bans offshore drilling unconditionally. As a result, Belize is justifiably an unparalleled destination for sustainable travel in 2019.

For the ecotourist, the biggest question has become whether to try to experience every unique, environmentally sustainable site or to focus on a handful.

Locally owned and operated, Adventures in Belize works with a myriad of eco-friendly hotels and resorts across the country to provide eco-conscious travelers a wide range of vacation package options ranging from scuba diving, cave tubing and birding expeditions.

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable tourism or booking an eco-vacation in Belize, contact Adventures in Belize today!

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