This is good news, and The Belize Tourism Board released the information in much the same way it was received by tourism industry stakeholders – with big smiles across the faces. We are growing as an overnight tourism destination, attracting the sort of people who stay longer, spend more money, and get to know Belize and Belizeans better.
Our story begins with a town hall meeting where it’s announced that Spain is sending a large force to invade and subjugate the English-speaking settlers, known collectively as the Baymen, and African slaves who had been eking out a living mostly by cutting logwood, which was highly valued for producing an indigo dye used in the British textile industry.
According to Chaa Creek founder and general manager Lucy Fleming, the innovative annual event gives Belizean youth an opportunity to learn about their natural world through a mix of adventure, social interaction, fun and hands-on education aimed at instilling a sense of wonder and responsibility for the environment.
With the world’s second largest barrier reef (some say the world’s longest living barrier reef), huge tracts of unspoiled rainforests surrounding ancient Maya cities and temples, pristine rivers, waterfalls, hundreds of lovely little islands and a stunning Caribbean coast, what’s not to be happy about? Oh yes, then there’s the people. Nowhere on the planet will you find a more multicultural mix of happy souls who have long ago worked out how to live in harmony. Just about everyone who comes to Belize remarks on the natural, easy going friendliness and warmth of Belizeans. And it’s infectious – after a few days even the most harried travellers notice a spring in the step and a propensity towards smiling. It just grows on you…
Despite the fact that Belize is incredibly ethnically diverse—home to many different peoples and languages—they all seem to share a common respect for the human condition and for the environment. One of my Belizean friends told me a story in which he once caught a wild baby bird when he was a little boy and kept it in his room in a shoebox. When his mother found out, she forced him to release the bird and then locked him in his room for a day. The lesson?