People are in constant search of the best locations to take a vacation and decide to stay behind to live an extraordinary life in a place that can be considered a haven in paradise. A place called Belize is probably one of the perfect destinations when a person wants to take off to a tranquil place to relax and have a great time.
The Bahamas has suffered one of the most pronounced economic setbacks across the region. Though located in the Atlantic, it is considered by organisations such as the IMF to be part of the Caribbean. Inbound tourism has rebounded after the global recession - the islands now welcome almost 6m visitors per year, up from 4.2m in 2000 – but gross domestic product (GDP) per capita contracted by 5 per cent in 2009 and is still 5 percentage points below its 2000 level.
An industry rift that threatened to undermine one of Belize’s most important export products is close to reaching a resolution. Following meetings with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the principals of American Sugar Refining (ASR) have agreed that cane farmers will be paid for bagasse, a sugar processing byproduct used for biofuel. An emergency general meeting between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association (BSCFA) and Belize Sugar Industry (BSI) took place on December 15, with negotiations over payment amounts to commence on December 19.
Tourism, a mere afterthought several decades ago, has grown into Belize’s second-largest industry. The World Travel & Research Council’s (WTR) Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2013 report for Belize shows that tourism contributed BZD $379.5MM (USD $190.7MM) to the economy in 2012, or 12.5% of GDP. Travel & Tourism was responsible for 15,000 jobs last year, or 11.3% of the total workforce. Visitor exports amounted to BZD $575.1MM (USD $289MM). Capital investment in T&T was BZD $179.5MM (USD $90MM).
The Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) has identified Belize as a jurisdiction with critical deficiencies in countering money laundering and the financing of terror (AML/CFT). First identified as a risk in November of 2011, the CFATF acknowledges that Belize has taken some steps to improve its AML/CFT regime, but asserts that Government must address customer due diligence requirements, implement a CFT framework as developed in the CFATF Action Plan, extend the AML/CFT framework to include designated non-financial businesses and professions, rectify the financial intelligenc