Friday, July 25, 2008

Belize Tourism Industry

Tourism is fast becoming the leading economic engine of the country. [4] In a recent speech to the Belize tourism industry, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said:
"The World Travel and Tourism Council has reported that the tourism industry is responsible for 297 million jobs worldwide. It contributes over 8 trillion dollars to the global GDP. In Belize, over 25% of all jobs is tourism-driven or tourism-related, with the industry directly responsible for over 18% of our GDP. According to the Central Bank, tourism last year accounted for 590 million dollars in revenue. This figure was up 90 million over the previous year, despite the effects of Hurricanes Dean and Felix on the industry generally and the cruise sector in particular. And tourism is now, and has been for some time, our number one foreign exchange earner. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, tourism is for Belize very serious business indeed."

Key Note Belize City - 15 May, 2008 - Biltmore Plaza Hotel - Address by Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow to the 10th Annual Industry Presentation.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Placencia Road Contract Signed

Official News Release from The Government of Belize.

Ministry of Works
Signing Ceremony for Placencia Road Project

Belmopan - 11 July, 2008
Official signing ceremonies were held today at the Inn at Robert’s Grove for the upgrading of the Placencia Road between the Government of Belize and Cisco Construction Limited. Upgrading will be done to approximately twenty (20) miles of road between mile 21 on the Southern Highway Junction and the community of Placencia passing thru Maya Beach, Riversdale, Seine Bight and ending at the Placencia Airstrip.

Present at today’s signing was the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow. He expressed that he was proud to be a part of history that will realize a project that was initially introduced by the UDP Government in 1998. He thanked the contractor and anticipates that the completion of the project will bring more tourism development in Placencia. Other guest also included the Minister of Works, Hon. Anthony “Boot” Martinez, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Hon. Manuel Heredia and Minister of Transport and Area Representative for Stann Creek West, Hon. Melvin Hulse.

The Civil works will consist of the construction of an embankment, side drains, concrete drainage structures and a double lane bituminous running surface. Sidewalks will be provided through the urban areas of Maya Beach and Seine Bight as will pedestrian crossings, speed control devices and lay by facilities for Bus Stops. The contract also includes the construction of a new Multi-purpose facility that will replace the existing Seine Bight Community Center.

The Project is being funded in the amount of BZ$25,881,550.73 by the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Belize. Works have already commenced on the road project and should be completed within a twenty-six (26) months construction period.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tikal, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech & El Pilar

Belize's western Cayo District borders Guatemala and there are several Maya ruins in the general vicinity. The district is a 90-minute drive from Belize City International Airport.

What to do

Tikal National Park This ruin of more than 3,000 buildings was home to an estimated 100,000 Mayans and is located in Guatemala, about 50 miles northwest of its border with western Belize's Cayo District. The drive from the town of San Ignacio in that district is almost entirely on dirt roads and takes about two hours. The Lodge at Chaa Creek offers a full-day guided tour for 1-4 people at $275 per person, which includes transportation, lunch, and visa/entry fees.

Xunantunich Reached by a hand-cranked ferry ride across the Mopan River, this important ceremonial center features "El Castillo," a monument that is among the tallest buildings in Belize, and an exceptional stucco carving of Maya deities. The ferry is located on the Western Highway in the village of San Jose Succotz in the Cayo District. Chaa Creek offers this tour for $100 per person.

Cahal Pech This site is located in the Cayo District on a hill overlooking San Ignacio. Its center is made up of 34 structures, the tallest of which is 77 feet high. Dating to 1200 B.C., it is one of the earliest Maya settlements in the Maya lowlands.

El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna Located north of Bullet Tree Falls in the Cayo District, and about 10 miles from San Ignacio, this site affords incredible views of the Belize River Valley. El Pilar is 32 miles from Tikal. Chaa Creek's tour is $135 per person.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Placencia Airstrip Caution Sign

As I pass by the Airstrip almost daily to go to the Village, I barely even notice this sign... but the tourists just love it. I bet it is the most photographed sign on the entire Peninsula.

What is for certain is the need to pay attention to the warning... sometimes the planes are fully loaded and need every bit of that airstrip that we drive around the end of so casually !

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Placencia Peninsula Road

All of us are hoping that getting rid of the pot hole riddled stretch of pavement through Seine Bight Village is just the beginning of things to come for the Peninsula! Here are some pictures and a short video as equipment worked in front of The Maine Stay. It's the "little things" in Belize that matter.

The paving of the Peninsula Road has been on the Belize government's "to do" list of promises for years. It has finally been funded and work is expected to start "soon." We are all just waiting for the that magic appearance of the real equipment and the job to begin!

Without doubt, the paving of the road will transform the Peninsula... for good and probably a little not so good. Placement of "speed bumps" will certainly be a crucial element in keeping traffic under some semblance of control.

Belize - Make Time for the Adventure of your Life

Here is a 3 minute trailer of the new Belize Tourist Board's promotional video for the tourism industry in Belize. This clip by Naturalight Productions is one of the best we've seen on Belize. Show it to your friends. Click on the title above or this link to play.