How Does Belize Capitalize on the Global Phenomena of Travel and Tourism?
According to the (WTO) World Tourism Organization tourism has become the worlds largest industry, accounting for 11% of global GDP and providing 1 in every 9 jobs, this means that a job is created by tourism every 2.5 seconds. It is also projected to sustain a 4% annual increase in global visitation for several years to come. In addition, tourism accounts for 11% of world capital investment. The tourism industry is also Belize's single largest contributor to economic growth, accounting for BZ$125.4 million or 17.5% of total GDP.
The question then must be asked- how does Belize, a small country, politically and geographically both in the Caribbean and Central America regions with precious natural resources such as the second largest living barrier reef and a rich multi ethnic population, capitalize on this global phenomena of travel and tourism? In order to better answer this question we must have a plan. However in order to execute any tourism plan or policy for Belize we must first realize that as a result of various factors, Belize will need to become more dependent on the tourism sector. With the trend now of trade liberalization and deregulation, Belize's existing productive sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and logging etc. will and have faced major constraints and not generate the kind of growth tourism can provide, particularly in it's short term needs.
The Belize tourism industry is a quality product and not based on quantity as in the case of commodity - base industries. In addition, tourism because of its nature is free from global standards and controls such as pricing, production efficiency, as seen in the banana, and sugar industries, but on it's uniqueness of which a large part of the global tourism market is willing to pay. Therefore in order to take full advantage of tourism economic growth potential. We must start to appreciate and understand it's value to the country of Belize, and the roles, that both private and public sectors must play if tourism in Belize is to flex its true potential for the benefit of every Belizean. If this is then understood and realized, then it is government's role to increase its support of tourism in all sectors and bring together and create a harmonious atmosphere for tourism investment and development. In the next issue I will be discussing the tourism multi-faceted economic contributions and its linkages to other sectors. "Tourism we make it happen"
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