Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending a lecture by Mr. Joe Awe, President of the Cayo Tour Guide Association, Senior Guide at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, and lecturer at the local Junior College. The presentation was on Sustainable Development in Belize for a group of students from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
Joe’s in-depth knowledge about the Belizean economy and specifically the tourism industry was very enlightening. He passionately delivered a compelling argument for Responsible Tourism and the need to develop a more concrete sustainable vision (at the policy level) for the tourism industry of Belize.
The presentation was delivered after dinner at The Conference Centre of the lodge where we were received by the friendly staff with an assortment of refreshments. The general themes Mr. Awe elaborated on were as follows:
- An Economic Overview
- Sustainable Development
- Impact of Tourism (Eco and Social)
- Principles of Sustainable Development
- Indicators and Solutions
Both professors and several students demonstrated a keen interest in the social and environmental impacts of tourism in the third world and where quick to initiate a dialogue on how they could go beyond being guests and enter into the realm of “Responsible Tourists” based on the sustainable development model that Mr. Awe explained.
On a personal note, it is inspiring to learn of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University and know that Dr. Schweitzer’s philosophy and its potential for a more peaceful and sustainable world lives on vibrantly through students and faculty.