Newest Partnership Strengthens Belize's Commitment to Eco-Tourism

In an effort to promote responsible tourism and protect its precious natural resources, the Belize Tourism Board has joined the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (WHA) as one of the organization's newest associate partners. The WHA is an industry-leading initiative founded by Expedia, Inc. and the United Nations Foundation, to support UNESCO's goal of promoting and protecting the 851 World Heritage sites around the world.

"We are excited about the future prospects of this new partnership with the World Heritage Alliance. Belize has always maintained its commitment to the preservation and conservation of the country's natural resources and this newest collaboration assures our continued efforts in the development of sustainable tourism and the industry's success," said Tourism Director, Tracy Panton.

In moving forward, the Belize Tourism Board pledges to work closely with the World Heritage Alliance to further strengthen Belize 's tourism development goals both locally and within the international sustainable tourism community. Belize will also implement the World Heritage Alliance principles, which includes participating in staff training programs, educating the traveling public about World Heritage, supporting community development around World Heritage sites, engaging employees to support the local community and supporting the United Nations in its efforts to encourage sustainable tourism.

In addition to the Belize Tourism Board, the WHA also welcomed the Belize Tourism Industry Association, an organization comprised of Belize tourism members and stakeholders, and three Belize hotels: The Lodge at Chaa Creek, the Black Orchid Resort and Whipray Caye Lodge.

"We're pleased to have the five Belize tourism entities joining the partnership," said Erika Harms, executive director of the World Heritage Alliance. "Together we have the power to reach millions of people around the world and help both preserve and protect some of the world's most beautiful and significant sites."

Snuggled between Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south, relaxed, English-speaking Belize is only a two-hour plane ride from the continental United States . Belize's Barrier Reef , which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 is the second largest barrier reef in the world "“ the largest in the western hemisphere "“ full of exotic marine and wildlife. Visitors to Belize can venture into a land rich in natural beauty that is steeped in the magic of its Mayan past, journey into lush unspoiled landscapes and enjoy some superb diving.

About the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism
The World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (WHA) works to support World Heritage conservation, sustainable tourism, and local economic development for communities in and around World Heritage sites. The WHA for sustainable tourism was founded by the UN Foundation and Expedia in the fall of 2005 to support UNESCO's goal of promoting and protecting World Heritage sites.

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