Responsible Tourism in Belize: Chaa Creek’s Ecotourism Model
FRIDAY July 29, 2011 – Today’s theme for the day was Responsible Tourism and Chaa Creek managers all participated in giving the eco kids a little lecture on the lodge’s ecotourism model and why responsible tourism is such an important feature for Belize.
Ecotourism is very vital for a country as it produces a high multiplier-effect which ultimately benefits the most people in society. It principally involves four aspects, sharing the economic benefits of tourism with the local communities, and the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.
“Tourism is great because it is an export that doesn’t physically leave Belize, foreign revenue is injected into the economy and with Chaa Creek’s ecotourism model, we try to make everyone have a share of the pie,” said Lucy Fleming proprietor of Chaa Creek.
For example, Lucy Fleming elaborated on how Chaa Creek provides employment for over 130 employees who are mostly from the nearby local villages of Cristo Rey and San Antonio. Those families in return support local grocery shops, farmers, catch cabs and buses, give their children money for school, and the list goes on.
“And how does the environment win?” asked an Eco Kid. Mike Green, Chaa Creek’s Loss Prevention manager added that the ecology wins by value being added to it, locals know that by showcasing the biodiversity, more money can be generated by protecting and conserving the environment than harming it.
“Visitors are amazed when they visit Belize! Having trees and wildlife all around is a pleasure that some people don’t have, and since Belizeans are surrounded by so much nature, they sometimes don’t quite notice how magnificent it is,” said Elsie Pacheco, the Front Desk Administrator who gave the kids a tourism frontline personnel point of view. Elsie ended by adding that after reading the Eco Kids contest essays, she was extremely proud to know of the campers interest in protecting and conserving the environment.
Bryony Fleming, the Quality Control/ Food and Beverage manager, along with the Purchasing Manager Loncey and Head Chef Mario shared Chaa Creek’s stance on being innovative and doing its part in taking care of the environment.
Bryony showcased items that Chaa Creek uses daily, such as biodegradable plates, utensils, bags, and detergents. Mario added that the extra fruit is used for feeding animals such as the Blue Morphos at the Butterfly Farm and leftover food is stored for composting which is later used for plants. “We try to reduce any waste, reuse whenever possible and ensure to recycle,” said Loncey. “For example, the extra sheets and pillows are donated to the Octavia Waight Old Folks Centre,” added Loncey.
Lucy Fleming’s last remark to the campers was, “I hope you kids can go off and create eco-businesses in the future, it would be a blessing in so many ways for Belize.”
Tomorrow’s theme of the day is Belize Wildlife
To read yesterday’s story, click here: Eco Solutions for Belize: REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE!
The day before was Photoblog: Eco Kids visit Chaa Creek’s Maya Organic Farm
Or check out what happened on the first day: Chaa Creek’s Eco Kids Camp 2011 commences