Godfrey unveils Galleria Maya plan
Showers of blessing cooled the hundreds of Belizeans and Mexican guests who witnessed
the unveiling of the master plan for a new tourist resort, "Galleria Maya," in the Corozal
district Sunday afternoon.
Located on the Four Mile Lagoon beside the Corozal Free Zone, the Galleria will offer a
new destination in the Mundo Maya. It seems such a surefire winner that the Deutsche
Bank of Germany is financing the $75 million cost of construction for the first phase, a
300-room 5-star hotel. This luxury hotel is of Moorish style architecture patterned on La
Alhambra in Granada, Spain with its beautiful arches, columns and patios with exquisitely
tiled mosaics. Construction is expected to be completed in 18 months time.
Guests at the resort will be able to choose from water sports, the tables at the casinos, a
high-end shopping mall and other forms of entertainment which the developers promise
will offer a single integrated experience.
Tourism developer Glenn Godfrey, of the Provident Bank & Trust group, explained his
vision, "We feel sure that the people who come here will not be content in just seeing this
small part of the country, they will want to go dive on the reef. So this means more
tourists in the rest of the country, ... in other words a great influx of money into the
economy, not only in this region, but in the entire country, and a lot of jobs." The resort
will pay hotel taxes and all other relevant taxes, Godfrey said.
"Mexicans make up the largest group of foreign visitors to Las Vegas," Godfrey said,
explaining the choice of site. "We have the benefit that under the NAFTA treaty, Mexico,
the U.S. or Canada cannot set up a free zone." Belize is sitting right next to the largest
market in the world. "It's a beautiful lagoon, so this is where it had to be," Godfrey
"We are confident that it will be a profitable venture, because the site is a paradise,"
concurred Deutsche Bank representative Dr. Frank Viloria. "Belize has the possibility to
install a casino, a feature which Mexico does not have. Imagine the population of Mexico,
say 100 million, as well as Americans from California, Texas and the rest of United States,
all of whom may be visiting Belize. When a conservative banking institution such as the
Deutsche Bank is willing to invest funds in a project, it is because it is confident that it
will recover its investment.
"As we have the sovereign guarantee from the government of Belize, our aim is that we
will finance the entire project, and we will also serve as consultants on execution of the
project. It is a very ambitious project which will include the construction of four other
hotels. One of the largest construction companies: Dragados of Spain, is building the
"I believe this is a very important project for the tourism industry of this country," Prime
Minister Said Musa said. "This project will help Chetumal and Quintana Roo as much as
Belize," Musa told members of the Mexican media who also attended the ceremony.
Representatives of other companies in the Galleria Maya Consortium also attended the
launching: Lic. Jose Gomez Collazo, marketing director for Sol Melia hotel chain, D.
Antonio Garcia Plata, regional director for the Spanish construction firm, Dragados Obras y
Proyectos, and the architect Renato Franceshelli, the president of Blue Sky Entertainment
from Las Vegas, who is responsible for the creative development of the resort. Godfrey
described his backers, "there are investors from Hong Kong, Mexico and a small part from
Belize. Because we know the region better, they've allowed us to manage."
Other dignitaries also present included the Deputy Prime Minister Johnny Briceņo, Minister
of Budget Planning Ralph Fonseca, area representatives Florencio and Vildo Marin and the
Governor of Chetumal Dr. Luis Pech Vasquez.