The Belize Tourism Industry Association held a biennial general meeting today at the Biltmore where stakeholders in the tourism industry were present to discuss developments within the sector over the past six months.  This time the association invited C.E.O. Guido Bauer of Green Globe, a universal certification for sustainable tourism.  While there are presently six Green Globe-certified properties in the country, the idea is for hotels and other businesses to become accredited and save energy and water resources, as well as reducing operational costs.  B.T.I.A. President Herbert Haylock told News Five earlier that there have been notable developments in the tourism industry since December of last year.

Herbert Haylock, President, B.T.I.A.

Herbert Haylock

“This is an opportunity for us to report again back to the membership, what have we been doing over the last six months?  What have we been involved with, results, challenges, obstacles, positive news?  We do have a couple positive things to share with the membership today and we’ll take that opportunity to do that.  But really it’s a session geared at being able to share and talk to the membership about those things.  One of the highlights that we have today is the fact that we have Mr. Guido Bauer, the CEO for Green Globe, giving the keynote speech for us today, on Green Globe and again the positive implications of Green Globe’s certification process.  We do have several members who are certified under the Green Globe scheme and they are present with us here today as well for this particular presentation.”

Guido Bauer, C.E.O., Green Globe

“Tourism in Belize, I understand, is twenty-five percent of the Belizean workforce is in tourism and tourism is the main product here and Belize being regarded as a green destination is on its best way to become a sustainable destination.  Six properties are already certified.  I’m delivering the keynote speech today, we have a workshop in the afternoon and hopefully we can bring the number of certified properties in Belize a little bit up.”

Guido Bauer

Isani Cayetano

“Can you once again reiterate the importance of going green, so to speak, in terms of either the tourism industry or any other sector for that matter?”

Guido Bauer

“Well, I think Belize is on it’s way to leave go green behind.  Everybody can go green, you drive an electric car and people think they are green.  What it is to be a sustainable destination, a sustainable operation, this is the next step.  We’re talking 2.0, so to speak and this is extremely important, first of all in operation, in maintaining the resources you have, corporate social responsibility, heritage, all that plays into sustainability and then second of all, now with the media and travel in general not being a sustainable operation it’s almost like having no internet, you know.  I mean this is what people expect from a hotel and what they expect from a destination.  People don’t want to go to a destination and leave a footprint behind.  If you’re a sustainable operation, or a sustainable hotel such as Hamanasi or such as Chaa Creek, you already know before you go I’m not leaving a footprint behind.  So I have a feel good operation and it’s also a question of competition.  You have to look to your neighbors, how well are they positioned?  Mexico is very well positioned and Belize is getting there.  I think there is a big push in Belize to go towards sustainability.”

Channel 5