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Belizean Tourism Continues to Climb With 2018 Showing Another Double-Digit Increase In Arrivals

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Belizean Tourism Continues to Climb With 2018 Showing Another Double-Digit Increase In Arrivals

In what The Lodge at Chaa Creek calls the success of sustainable tourism, tourism in Belize continues to grow dramatically, with the first half of 2018 showing a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals for the third year running.

PR Newswire

SAN IGNACIO, Belize, Aug. 01, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Belize has once again posted a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals for the first half of the year in what The Lodge at Chaa Creek says is further proof that sustainable tourism is as good for business as it is for the environment and local communities.

Chaa Creek's founding owners, Mick and Lucy Fleming, were responding to new Belize Tourism Board data showing that Belize was, for the third year running, showing an increase in tourist arrivals during the first half of the year.

"Belize's strong growth proves, once again, that protecting the environment and supporting local communities is good policy, not only ethically, but economically as well," Ms Fleming said.

The recent BTB statistics show that the double-digit increases in both overnight and cruise ship tourist arrivals Belize experienced over the last three years has continued during the first half of 2018, a trend the BTB characterized as ground breaking and exceptional.

Ms Fleming said that while the growth of Belize's tourism industry is good news, the fact that it is driven by a nationwide commitment to sustainable tourism and responsible travel is what's truly significant.

"It's one thing for a small developing country to build a successful tourism industry, but to do it with such a strong focus on environmental protection and support for local communities is really something to be proud of," she said.

Belize's focus on sustainable development is no accident, Ms Fleming explained.

"Belize's tourism industry only really came into its own after gaining independence from Great Britain in 1981, and being a relatively unknown newcomer in the global marketplace presented both challenges and opportunities.

"Independence and the beginning of a new tourism industry also coincided with rising worldwide awareness about the need for environmental protection, which, as a new, energetic nation, Belize embraced in both the private and public sectors," Ms Fleming said.

"Human rights and social issues were also gaining more attention, and became factors in the development of Belize's tourism industry," she added.

These factors, plus the fact that the tourism industry in Belize was initially driven by local entrepreneurs and smaller, family owned businesses, created a unique, more grassroots industry that travellers found attractive.

"People obviously appreciated this more sustainable, community-based approach and liked what they saw, because it was word of mouth that initially drove, and continues to drive, the growth of Belizean tourism," Ms Fleming, a past president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, explained.

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation also published BTB figures showing that overnight tourist arrivals in Belize increased just over 17% in the first six months of 2018, with cruise ship arrivals up 10.2% compared to last year. Figures for the month of June alone show a 15% increase in overnight visitors, while cruise ship arrivals were up 57.2%, with over 26,000 more cruise visitors compared to June 2017 in what the BTB called, "Another exceptional increase in tourism arrivals."

Chaa Creek, which became one of Belize's first eco-resorts when the Flemings began taking guests at their small farm on the banks of the Macal River in Western Belize, is just one example of how tourism in Belize grew, Ms Fleming explained.

The popular Belizean jungle lodge has since grown to offer a wide range of accommodation options, amenities and activities within a 400-acre private nature reserve, while Chaa Creek Expeditions offers tours, excursions and cultural expeditions from inland Belize and Guatemala to the Caribbean coast and the Belize Great Barrier Reef.

Chaa Creek also sponsors scholarships, training and career development through the Fleming's "Chaa Creek Cares" initiative, which sees ten percent of all room revenue going directly towards environmental and community projects, such as the annual free Eco-Kids Educational Summer Camp and other programs.

"I don't think anyone in Belize could have imagined how dramatically and how successfully tourism has grown in such a relatively short time, or what a positive impact it would have on the lives of so many Belizeans," Ms Fleming said.

As National Geographic editor Costas Christ said when Chaa Creek was recognized with first place honors at the National Geographic's 2017 World Legacy Awards, "Call it the romance of doing well and doing good."

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi-award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize. It was recognised by National Geographic with first place honours at the 2017 World Legacy Awards held in Berlin.

 

SOURCE The Lodge at Chaa Creek

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