CHAT TOURISM- A New Colour- A New Frontier
fter one year and 51 articles exploring the “-isms” in our tourism, it is time that we expanded the conversation. The development and success of Belize’s tourism product are tied to all the work, attitudes, perspectives, skills, creativity, training, cooperation, synergies, and professionalism that exist between the private and public sectors and among all industry stakeholders. Tourism is romanticism, revisionism, furtivism, tip-ism, fanaticism, culturalism, Belizeanism, and enough “-isms” to cause an industry aneurism- the good kind. All of the concepts, feelings, and perspectives highlighted in “Tour-ism” pointed at some of the subtle and blatant ways in which the tourism industry is connected to and felt throughout the Belize economy. The tourism industry’s connectivity to other sectors and need for continued growth and expansion is where we open our new chat and the Belize Investment Summit 2023 is where we start to connect the dots.
The Belize Investment Summit 2023 was a discussion about Belize’s national development standards, needs, and objectives. Broadly, the summit focused on initiatives to attract local and foreign investment, support local MSMEs, improve our energy capacity, and capitalize on all of Belize’s unique geographical, demographical, cultural, and environmental positions. CEO of the Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Ms. Nicole Solano, attended the summit and spoke on a panel that discussed the outlook for tourism. CEO Solano emphasized that “we have the product but we need to organize it and get the information to move successfully ahead”. She was referring to information about the Green, Blue, and Orange economies that intersect at all levels of Belize’s national development and tourism industry.
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) views the Orange Economy as a strategic sector for tourism development, as it can enhance the attractiveness, competitiveness, and sustainability of destinations. The Orange Economy is an economic novelty. Former President of Colombia and keynote speaker at the summit, Ivan Duque Marquez, introduced the orange economy as “the most powerful element today that can lead to growth”. As President Duque put it “the Orange Economy is changing the world.” Formally, the Orange Economy is a production model where goods and services have intellectual value because they are the product of the ideas and expertise of creators. Who are the creators? They include people in design and visual arts, tourism and cultural heritage, new media and software, performing arts, music, and literary arts, and publications. The orange economy is about the tangible and intangible assets that rest at the creative core of individuals, communities, groups, and entire nations.
Orange is not the new Green or the new Blue. It will not undermine the relevance of current environmental and sustainability practices. Climate change issues will be addressed and complemented alongside business development seeped in cultural and intellectual property expansion. Our environmental principles for reducing risks and ecological scarcities (Green Economy) and the sustainable use of ocean resources when considering the economic activities related to oceans, seas, and coasts (Blue Economy) have already been considered and incorporated into national policy and development strategies. Will the combination of these three colors lead to the best bio-economy for Belize? Some of the challenges include lack of funding and structure, recognition and protection, data and measurement, skills and training, and a lack of diversity and inclusion.
The BTB has already made substantial investments towards building our culture as one of the main pillars of the Belize tourism offer. The insight and information shared at this year’s Belize Investment Summit highlights that the organization is already moving in the right direction and with all the right hues of Blue, Green, and Orange in its National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP). Also, referred to as the “creative economy”, this new segment is being viewed as the new frontier in tourism.
Let’s Chat again next week.
The Belize Tourism Board