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Aug 8, 2017

Ministry of Tourism Reviews National Policy

The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is in the process of updating the now-twelve year old National Tourism Policy which espouses sustainable tourism as the underpinning of the profitable industry. Stakeholders have been consulted extensively over the past few weeks and the consultant contracted for the revision, Dr. Richard Denman, last week presented a draft which of a Policy Working Group, which includes members from the Belize Tourism Industry Association, the Belize Hotel Association, the Belize Tourism Board, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, the National Institute of Culture and History and the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, will subsequently guide its finalization. Chief Tourism Officer Abil Castaneda told us more about what they said.


Abil Castaneda

Abil Castaneda, Chief Tourism Officer

“The reason we are calling it an update is because a lot of the 2005 policy is still relevant in what it is seeking for tourism development in the country, in terms of embracing proper environmental management and embracing a mutual economic benefit for Belizeans; but there’s also things that the policy did not speak to that I think that are very important for tourism to consider within its policy; things like climate change, things like disaster response, things like the shared economy – we’re hearing Airbnb and Uber across not only Belize but the world and we have to be prepared to be able to address these different industry trends as they come along. In January we started this process; we have done two rounds of consultations before this last one that we had last week and the consultations have been very productive, very frank discussions with our partners and industry stakeholders and there are two things that have been coming out. One is that we are on the correct path and direction in terms of tourism development, in that we have engaged in the sustainable tourism model of development, even though we are still working in getting that to be a little bit more effective and efficient. The second thing and very importantly, is that a lot of our partners have mentioned that while we are going to update the policy, one thing they would like to see a little bit more within the policy is how we are actually going to deliver and implement the policy. So the first draft of the policy is actually a very bold attempt at trying to deliver, showing a particular structure that will assist us in getting to the point of delivery and for this policy to be a much more effective guiding tool than the 2005 policy.”

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