Presentation by Osmond Martinez, Ph.D. at the 2nd Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Research has proven that tourism is a key economic sector, which serves as a mechanism to promote poverty alleviation through pro-poor tourism development activities within a nation. The real contribution of the tourism industry to the GDP in Belize increased from 1997 to 2017, growing at an average annual rate of 7.32%. The research supports the premise that tourism is a key job creating mechanism through which wealth can be created without requiring large investments. The research studies the extent in which tourism activities reduce poverty by increasing income through employment opportunities in a population that is socially and culturally impoverished in the country of Belize. The primary target group for the paper includes the local poor population, which was measured using the World Bank definition of poverty. A mix-method approach was used in which questionnaires were distributed to a representative sample of the local target group, and interviews were conducted with key stake-holders such as local government authorities, non-governmental organizations, accommodation representatives, and actors in the tourism value chain (fishing, agriculture and handicrafts at every level).
Key words: sustainable tourism, Belize economy, poverty alleviation, job creation