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Aug 8, 2017

The Parameters of Sustainable Tourism

Abil Castaneda

But what exactly is sustainable tourism? It’s a question Castaneda says the Ministry was asked repeatedly during the consultations, especially in light of the apparent deviation from the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan established in 2012 with relation to cruise tourism in the Placencia Peninsula. The answer is contained in the revised policy, which establishes four pillars that the Ministry and its partners aim to follow.


Abil Castaneda, Chief Tourism Officer

“At the end of the day, sustainability has four very important things that we have to consider, and when we say we do sustainable tourism, these things must be met. The first one is to ensure that there is social integration of the local communities and of our Belizean people within the industry; that means that there’s respect in how the industry interacts with our local communities, but also that local communities and Belizeans have an opportunity to be part of the tourism sector. The second one is that we should always strive to ensure there’s mutual benefit distributed in a very equitable manner across the country. In 2008 when we were doing the Master Plan, we found that much of the tourism activities were happing in a few areas – San Pedro, Placencia, Belize City; but the Master Plan as well as this current draft of the policy is asking us to distribute that activity a little bit more equitably across the country. So you will see that the Ministry is actually, at this moment, executing a program called the Sustainable Tourism Program II, that is beginning to put in some very necessary planning and investments within Corozal and Toledo and other destinations, so that there can be as much as there are in other areas development and activities that are tourism-based. The other thing when we talk about sustainable tourism is a safeguard of the integrity of our environmental resources – that’s fundamental. And there has always been a natural and innate link between tourism and the environmental management movement that we have had for so many decades in the country. So that is one of the areas and pillars that has always been vibrant and out there in terms of they both interact with one another. And the other area that is very important to talk about when you talk about sustainable tourism is to ensure that there is a necessary understanding of the responsibilities of each individual and agencies have in developing the sector.”


Over ninety public, private and civil sector tourism stakeholders participated. The policy is a deliverable of the Sustainable Tourism Program II, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, through the support of the Inter-American Development Bank. The final policy is expected to be completed by November for approval by Cabinet, after which attention turns to refining established legislation.

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1 Response for “The Parameters of Sustainable Tourism”

  1. Mike G says:

    Lets just hope that BTB/GOB will live up to the mentioned sustainability standards. They have not had such a good track record with doing that so far. Tourism is our lifeblood industry and if it sustainably managed will continue to support our people for many years to come.

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