Introduction: The following is a Case Study: Tourism and Biodiversity. In this instance, Ecotourism as a developmental tool and a tool for biodiversity planning and conservation for Belize is emphasized.

This document highlights the potential of ecotourism as an economic activity that will: contribute to the sustainable economic and social development of the country and contribute to environmental and cultural heritage preservation while ensuring the participation of the local communities and other stakeholders in the process.

Tourism is currently the most important contributor to Belize’s economy. According to the figures presented by the Belize Tourism Board for the year 1999, tourism contributes to approximately 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 23 percent of the GDP with indirect economic benefits complied, 25 percent of total foreign exchange earnings, and 1 in 4 jobs.

The trend for the past ten years (1990 – to present) shows a steady increase (reflected in the Annex). Renewed investor confidence, an integrated tourism strategy, and a clear policy direction will set the platform for further economic growth while protecting Belize’s rich natural and cultural resources.

Given the increasing economic importance of tourism to Belize’s economy, the Ministry of Tourism and Youth has embarked on the development of a new strategic platform for tourism. One of the objectives of the platform is the generation of new jobs across the national economy.