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3rd International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations opens in Belize

The 3rd International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations opened today in Belmopan. The conference is being held at the University of Belize in its conference hall, there was a student strike on Friday and they cut the power to the air conditioning unit which has resulted in the motors being burnt out and parts need to be flown in from Spain so we are have a lot of fans running in the auditorium.

There are a number of ICRT alumni here ? Adama Bah for ICRT West Africa, Laura McGowan from ICRT Canada, Dana Sarhan from Oman and Murray Simpson who is working on climate change in the Caribbean. The conference has been organised by Yashin Dujon who took the MSc when the ICRT was at Greenwich University. Yashin now works in the Ministry and he has established with Kenrick Theus the ICRT Belize

The conference was formally opened by the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture the Hon Manuel Heredia who had invited delegates at the Kerala Conference in 2008 to come to Belize in 2009. Tourism in Belize takes two forms there is a small scale, locally owned, low footprint form of tourism which enables travellers to appreciate and enjoy a ‘symphony of nature? from rain forest to reef, and encourages encounters with the cultural diversity of Belize; and then there is ?mass? cruise tourism which bring few benefits to the national economy.

The Minister and the new government in Belize are committed to developing the natural and cultural heritage based tourism product and enabling more Belizeans to supplement their incomes by earning at least a part of their livelihood from tourism. Belize is working on a national Responsible Tourism policy and is about to undertake a master planning exercise firmly based on a Responsible Tourism strategy for the country.

The 3rd International Conference in Responsible Tourism in Destinations was originally planned to take place in May but it was postponed until October because of the H1N1 Swine flu outbreak in Mexico. Yashin, Kenrick and their team are to be congratulated on effectively organising two conferences. We are expected well over 200 delegates with 50 or so international participants ? a major achievement for a country in Central America.

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