Take some time to consider what you really want When it comes to sustainability, different countries have different priorities. In Belize, our thriving tourism industry supports over 28,000 local jobs and is driven primarily by reef-related activities. The health of our reef and mangrove ecosystems, therefore, directly impacts the food we eat, the livelihoods we hold, and the coastal protection and recreational enjoyment we all enjoy.
How we manage our natural resources is critical to ensuring that Belize continues to provide a world-class vacation experience, while supporting a healthy ecosystem balance.
Recognizing this, Belize is one of several countries in the region leading the charge for sustainability. From becoming the first country in the world to put a moratorium on all offshore oil exploration and drilling back in 2017, to phasing out of Single-use Plastic and Styrofoam products this past March, Belize has celebrated several recent conservation victories that will go a long way to ensuring that our home remains a sustainable tourism destination for local and international tourists.
These national efforts are also bolstered by many local resorts, restaurants, and businesses, opting to offer environmentally conscious policies and solutions.
Despite conservation efforts, however, these resources are under pressure due to human induced activities such as development projects, resource exploitation, climate change, and other stressors.
To minimize the impacts of tourism to the point that Belize’s economy, its people, and its environment can all mutually benefit, here are a few suggestions/tips on how to be a sustainable traveller while in Belize.
- Pack Re-Usable Items And Avoid Single-Use Plastics
- By opting to travel with re-usable bags (canvas totes), bottles (with built-in purifier if needed), or even cutlery (plant based), you minimize single-use plastic waste ending up in communities and reduce your impact to the environment.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- When on the Cayes/Islands, choose to rent a canoe, bike, or electric golf cart. While on the mainland, choose public transportation such as buses that are available in most towns. Of course, walking is the most sustainable way to get around, allowing you to go slow and take in the natural Belizean scenery.
- Opt For Bio-Degradable/Reef-Safe Products
- Prior to traveling to Belize, try doing some research and sourcing bio-degradable toiletries (preferably also in bio-degradable packaging), and reef-safe (mineral based) sunscreen options, that are likely to reduce the environmental impact of chemical damage compared to conventional options available.
- Save Water And Energy
- Tourism relies heavily on the continued availability of water and energy. Travellers can do their part by taking showers instead of baths, using the AC’s less or none at all, or even charging electronics (phones, tablets, laptops) once, instead of multiple times a day.
- Support Sustainable Accommodations/Operators/ Businesses
- Choose accredited/certified, eco-friendly/green properties that utilize water/energy efficient technologies. Keywords to look out for: solar panels, efficient water heating and cooling systems, sustainably sourced building materials, less packaging, recycling, and working with the communities in which they are located. Hire tour guides who are genuinely committed to safeguarding our resources. Support businesses that are offering environmentally friendly alternatives.
- Ask Where Your (Sea)Food Comes From (FRER)
- Sourcing seafood responsibly enables consumers to make correct choices that ensure the health of our oceans.
As a visitor, you can advance Belize’s cultural and natural conservation without much effort.