While the growing Corozal free
Zone continues to boost the
economy of Northern Belize, a
new tourism project adjoining
the zone promises to make the
area a Mecca for more than just
shoppers looking for bargain
liquor and gasoline. The Galeria
Maya Project, located on the waters of Four-Miles
Lagoon, centres around the construction of a
complex of hotels, casinos and upscale shopping
malls. President of the Galeria Maya Consortium,
former Minister of Tourism Glenn Godfrey, says
that the new venture will bring more jobs for
Belizeans and much needed foreign exchange.
Glenn Godfrey, Pres., Galeria Maya Consortium
"It is a strip modeled off the Las Vegas model, which
seeks not only to provide gaming, but to provide a
mixture of activity that will provide that will appeal to
the entire family. So we'll have amusement park like
for the kids, we'll have shopping for those people who
like to shop, we'll have gaming and of course we'll
have restaurants, water sports, golf, activities for
"These are upscale goods particularly where shopping
is concerned, it will be better quality stuff than in the
actual free zone now? Elaborate a bit.
"Well we don't want to compete with the market that
present people in the zone are catering to. We think
that that market is saturated and they're doing a good
job at what they do. We are looking at a different
market, an upper scale market, the people who want
to buy Gucci and all the name brands."
"We'll have five hotels in all with casinos and
shopping malls. The first project is the first hotel with
the shopping mall, casino and an entertainment
centre. Also the Four Mile Lagoon is very, very
beautiful, it's a sinkhole, a cave collapse and filled
with water and connected out to the river, so it's
beautiful. Belizeans have been going there a long time
to enjoy it. Under the existing law Belizeans will not
be able to go into the zone to shop."
"Instead of selling only the idea of the casino, you're
looking to sell the experience now, so when people
come across by boat, will we see maybe a little cruise
section, because they could come across regularly."
"Yes. They will be able to come by boat and there's a
significant advantage to them returning by boat
because it will double the amount that they can take
back duty free from one hundred and fifty dollars U.S.
to three hundred dollars. Of course it's part of the
experience like you said. And that area is very
beautiful, when you go to the river there are alligators
and beautiful birds, and we'll work to preserve that."
Godfrey says that ground will be broken on May
twenty-seventh for the first of the project's five
hotels. The entire project is scheduled for
completion in eighteen months.