Belize is a small country with a big heart for the environment. It has over 100 protected areas, covering over 40% of the country’s land and sea. From the world famous Belize Barrier Reef to the lush Maya Mountains, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this hidden gem.
One of the famous protected areas is the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the world’s second largest barrier reef and is home to a diverse array of marine life, including coral, fish, and marine mammals.
Other popular protected areas include the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to the largest population of jaguars in Central America and Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve which is home to a variety of wildlife, pine trees, orchids, caves and waterfalls. There is also Chiquibul National Park home to a variety of wildlife and Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to a variety of bird species.
Belize is home to a variety of ecospheres including Mangroves, which are coastal forests that play an important role in protecting the coastline from erosion and providing habitat for a variety of marine life. There are also Tropical rainforests which cover over 60% of Belize’s land area. They are home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including many endangered species.
Belize is a melting pot of cultures, majority of the population is Mestizo, a mix of indigenous and European ancestry. Other ethnic groups include Creole, Garifuna, Maya, Mennonite and Asian. Each ethnic group has its own unique culture, which is reflected in the food, music, and dance of Belize.
In 2019, Belize became the first country in the world to commit to making all of its tourism investments green. This commitment is part of Belize’s broader efforts to become a carbon neutral country by 2050. By making tourism green, Belize is not only protecting its natural environment, but it is also creating a more sustainable future for its tourism industry. This is a win-win for Belize and for the world.
The government is investing in renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind power. They have introduced a carbon tax on air travel, which is used to fund renewable energy projects. In 2023, the government launched the Belize Blue Bond, a debt conversion initiative that will invest $180 million in marine conservation over the next 20 years.
The country has also committed to protecting 30% of its ocean territory by 2030. They are also working to cover Belize’s timbers and wildlife. This includes creating new defended areas and cracking down on illegal logging.
Belize is promoting sustainable tourism is through its Green Hotels program. This program recognizes hotels that meet high standards of environmental and social responsibility. One of the innovative green tourism businesses is Chaa Creek, they are a luxury eco-resort that is powered by solar energy and rainwater. They also have a number of sustainable practices in place, such as composting and recycling.
Some examples of how Belize is promoting sustainable tourism are: *The Green Hotels program has certified over 50 hotels in Belize.
*The Belize Tourism Board has advanced some of eco-tourism initiatives, which include the Community-based Ecotourism program. This program supports community-owned and operated eco-tourism businesses.
There are many ways that you can help Belize promote sustainable tourism such as:
*Choose to stay at a Green Hotel. *Participate in an eco-tourism activity.
*Bring reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, shopping bags and reef safe sunblock.
*Eat local dishes to support sustainable agriculture.
*Talk to your friends and family about the importance of sustainable tourism.
If you are looking for a green travel destination, Belize is a great option, they are well on their way to becoming a world leader in green tourism. With its stunning natural beauty and commitment to sustainability, Belize is a place where you can enjoy your vacation without harming the planet.
Author: Francis Lord