And Support Local Communities At The Same Time
Belize’s Chaa Creek earned a worldwide reputation for sustainable tourism over the years, along with a wall full of awards from National Geographic, Green Globe and other travel professionals.
And we’ve always believed that real sustainable travel is a two-way street. A partnership, if you will, between travelers and their hosts. Ideally, host countries and hospitality providers help expand travelers’ horizons, while travellers provide incomes and other benefits for the people who live in the places they visit.
At Chaa Creek, we like to enhance that arrangement by creating bonds between our guests and Belizean communities.
We do this in a variety of ways – with village visits, cultural tours, onsite attractions like the Belize Natural History Museum and Maya Medicinal Plant Trail, ethnic cooking classes at the Open Hearth kitchen, and a host of other experiences that introduce Belize’s stunning natural world and vibrant multiculturalism.
In return, our guests bring the outside world into small villages, and often take part in initiatives like the Pack-a-Pound program that helps guests donate school supplies to needy Belizean primary school students.
Over the years we’ve been gratified to see our guests form mutually rewarding relationships with local people and communities.
In a recent blog we made reference to a Travel+Leisure article that highlighted how one travel professional, in explaining why now is a great time to travel, said:
“Over the past several weeks, Travel + Leisure has spoken with numerous travel insiders who say that going on a vacation right now is not only possible, but essential to both local communities and the global travel industry”.
Our feelings exactly!
As we pointed out in that blog, tourism has helped raise the standard of living for countless Belizeans. The influx of tourism has improved schools, hospitals, infrastructure and a variety of social service programs. It has fueled employment opportunities, careers in areas like environmental studies and hospitality, and brought global attention to the need to protect Belize’s precious natural resources.
The importance of travel and tourism was recently emphasized by the sudden, dramatic decline of travel brought on by the global pandemic we’ve all been affected by.
If you’ve been affected in your home, imagine the effect it’s had in a small developing country like Belize. Since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1981, Belize has transitioned from an agricultural and fishing economy to having tourism as the main employer and economic driver.
1981 was also the year that Chaa Creek began its evolution from the Fleming family’s small working farm to become the country’s first eco-resort, eventually creating a 400-acre nature reserve, becoming one of the area’s largest employers and supporting a wide range of businesses and suppliers.
So we have a first-hand knowledge and appreciation of how responsible travel and sustainable tourism benefit Belize.
And the words “responsible” and “sustainable” bring us back to the theme of this blog.
Imagine if you could help out and contribute to the well-being of many people, small villages and communities, and have a great time while doing so.
Enjoying casually luxurious jungle lodgings and amenities, delicious farm-to-table dining, healthy outdoor activities like swimming, canoeing, horseback riding, nature hikes, birding, and much more.
In short, doing good and feeling good while having a good time.
We’ll be honest here – Belize needs you. As a small developing country with a commitment towards sustainable development, Belizeans have repeatedly placed the environment and communities over profit.
Voting to outlaw oil exploration and drilling along the Caribbean coast and Belize Great Barrier Reef, banning commercial fish trawling, logging in protected areas – which comprise some 25% of the country – and other profitable yet environmentally destructive activities, were all recognised as the right thing to do while securing the future of one of the world’s most beautifully diverse natural environments for generations of future visitors to enjoy.
However, sustainable development comes at a cost, and made Belize increasingly dependent on the responsible travel and sustainable tourism it promotes.
So, when you visit Belize, in addition to enjoying those vast tracts of wilderness, the world’s second largest barrier reef, canoeing lazy tropical rivers, exploring the remnants of the fascinating ancient Maya civilization and other culturally rich experiences, you’re also helping to protect and preserve all those things.
And given Belize’s close proximity to North America, the short flights, and the effective measures the government and tourism industry put in place to safeguard the health and well-being of visitors and locals, you, your family and loved ones can visit in confidence.
You may also be surprised at how easy and affordable a vacation in Belize is right now.
We invite you to contact Chaa Creek and we’ll have one of our vacation adventure planners chat with you to answer questions and craft a casually luxurious, nature-based getaway that reflects your personal interests, tastes and budget.
Who would have thought that doing good could be so enjoyable?
We hope to see you soon!