BELIZE CITY, Tues. Feb. 16, 2021– The staggering, uncontaminated beauty of Belize, has yet again been recognized by the Ethical Traveler.
Ethical Traveler is a Berkeley-based, Earth Island Institute project. Its purpose is to “empower travelers to change the world”. Noting the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Berkeley-based project hopes that its endorsement will drive the tourism industries, post-pandemic, for the developing countries that it has highlighted on its list of ethical destinations. Belize was a back-to-back Ethical Destinations winner in 2017-2018, and once again, Belize makes an appearance on the 2021 list.
The unique circumstances emerging as a result of COVID-19 led to the inclusion of a new category on the Ethical Traveler list: “The Top Ten (Post-Pandemic) Destinations of 2021.”
The ten countries on that list, in no particular order, are Belize, Benin, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mongolia, Nepal, The Gambia and Uruguay.
The Ethical Traveler said, “Belize should be commended for putting the health of its citizens above economic factors.” The Ethical Traveler described Belize as an industry leader, which took the pandemic as an opportunity to reflect on the future of tourism in Belize, and it noted that Belize closed its international airport in late March and did not reopen to foreigners until October 1.
In 2019, the travel and tourism sector accounted for more than one third of Belize’s GDP. By October 2020, GDP declined by twenty percent (20%) and tax revenues could no longer support the government’s regular expenditures.
As a result, over 80,000 Belizeans, notably more than one third from the tourism sector, applied for financial aid due to unemployment. Applications closed within a month, for the government was unable to sustain the increasing number of applicants.
The Ethical Traveler encourages foreigners to support Belize’s economy, by visiting Belize, supporting local businesses and following the strict safety protocols.