The reef plays a pivotal role not only in Belize’s ecosystem, but as the bread and butter for thousands of Belizeans. Some of Belize’s prime tourism destinations are located along the reef, thus it is the main economic drive for many coastal communities like Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. For that reason, Hol Chan Marine Reserve has come up with a week of activities to highlight the crucial role the Belize Barrier Reef plays as part of country’s natural and cultural heritage. The activities will be held as part of Reef week which will be celebrated from May 20th to the 26th on Ambergris Caye.
The purpose of the week’s activity is to bring awareness about the values of the reef to the country and specifically to the island. In her address for Reef Week as part of Reef Week delivered in March, Honorable Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development highlighted the value of the reef to Belize. “Everybody would agree that the Belize Barrier Reef is important economically, socially and culturally. Economically, it supports our tourism and fisheries sector with export earnings from the Fisheries Sector ranging between Bz$21 and Bz$27 MILLION per annum over the past five years AND with tourism revenues of over Bz$500 MILLION per annum over the same time-frame.The reef is also socially and culturally important as it has provided leisure to the many Belizeans and tourists alike. The reef as we also would fully appreciate has inspired our National Anthem – it has also been the focus of great works of art by many of our artists,” said Alamilla.
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