Chaa Creek Celebrates World Environment Day Every Day In Belize

San Ignacio, Belize (PRWEB) June 10, 2016

Ms Fleming said that sustainable practices have proven long and short-term benefits for tourism stakeholders, their countries, local communities and the travelling public.

“It can also be good for a business’ bottom line,” she added.

“When tourism took off in the 1980s, there was a lot of interest on the part of large conglomerates to come in an replicate the sort of big development projects you see in other countries. But after achieving independence in 1981, Belize put many environmental safeguards in place that restricted the sort of ‘anything goes’ projects you see in other developing nations.”

Instead, she said, a proliferation of small, “mom and pop” family operations flourished, and came to define the face of Belize tourism.

“Chaa Creek, for example, grew out of our small family farm on the banks of the Macal River. Since we were not beholding to corporate boards or shareholders, we developed the way we wanted to; slowly and organically. If it meant working around a large tree rather than cutting it down, we did that. If it meant using local rather than imported materials, and using more labour-intensive methods of construction, that’s the path we took.

“For example, rather than buy cheaper imported furniture, we had ours made locally, which provided employment while giving our cottages their distinctive look and feel. Rather than using synthetic roofing material, we stuck to traditional thatch and began growing bay palm leaf as a renewable resource, once again providing employment, keeping traditional construction methods alive, lessening our environmental footprint and contributing to Chaa Creek’s signature look.

“Some people thought we were crazy, but now, over thirty years later, we’ve proven that environmental and cultural sensitivity works, and works well indeed.”

“Our guests always comment on the natural look and feel of Chaa Creek, and this is a direct result of slow growth and trying to harmonise with the environment rather than impose something upon it. If we were putting in a new building or road, my husband Mick would spend days working out the least disruptive way to it. Maybe it was not always the most efficient or cost effective way, but the results speak for themselves,” she said.

Ms Fleming stressed that Chaa Creek was not the only Belizean eco-resort that valued sustainability.

“As a nation, Belize has developed very strong environmental credentials. This has been due to education and the fact that most Belizeans have lived close to nature, as farmers, fisherpeople, nature guides and in other pursuits that give people an appreciation of nature. It was only natural that when tourism became the main employer, it would have a strong green character.”

“We always felt that education was an important part of eco-tourism,” Ms Fleming, a former educator, said.

Given all that, it was only natural that World Environment Day would be enthusiastically celebrated in Belize with school excursions, exhibits and village events, she said.

“But, and not to sound like a clich, pretty much every day is environment day in Belize. Many Belizeans work in eco-tourism and environmental management, and our young people study environmental sciences and related fields as well as tourism and hospitality, so it’s fair to say that for many Belizeans, environmental sustainability is part of their daily lives.

“That bodes well for the future of Belize, and for our planet,” Ms Fleming said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize.