Sustainable Tourism in Belize

Dec 2014
The health of Belize's economy is closely related to the health of the tourism industry, which was responsible for 40 percent of total exports of goods and services from 2008 to 2012. The tourism industry in Belize is still an emerging sector, and its continued sustainable growth is a critical factor. This technical note discusses the main characteristics of Belize's tourism sector and its importance to the national economy, and identifies the key constraints to the sector's sustainable development and the policies currently being implemented. The note highlights the country's cultural heritage, biodiversity, and ecosystems as forms of natural capital; the threats of natural disasters and climate change; and the opportunities to achieve sustainable tourism. It also presents policy recommendations, taking into account the strategic goals of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan 2012-2030 (NSTMP), a strategic framework for sustainable development that guides Belize's tourism sector, as well as the goals toward regional integration in Central America.