Unfortunately, it’s often the case in many developing destinations (even some within the Caribbean) that locals can be less than welcoming to some tourists. In reality, there is always going to be a mix of friendly, welcoming locals who host and provide services to tourists and visitors, as well as a few bad apples that can ruin your perception of a new place.
Some places have more of a reputation for hospitality than others. Belize is gaining momentum quickly in the tourism industry for a bunch of reasons. Possibly the most important aspect of the tourism industry in Belize is the hospitality shown by the Belizean people to all visitors of this tropical getaway. There is a long list of travel websites and publications that will simply include a mention of “friendly locals” in their reviews of destinations, sometimes trivializing the experience that the people there can provide to tourists.
However, there is so much that the words “friendly locals” leave out of the bigger picture. And, in fact, if you are one of the many forward-thinking people looking to get into the Belizean market, you will want to know the people there on a greater level than you can get from reading generic reviews.
Belize is historically very multi-cultural. People of various heritages make up the population of Belize, and that is no different when discussing expats and tourists (many of whom are future expats exploring their destination options).
Because there is such a growing expat population, you might think Belize is one of those places where the locals might harbor some kind of resentment, fear, or other opposition to the new immigrants to their home. For anyone thinking that, please do not fall for this kind of false reality about the amazing people of Belize.
The people here offer a true welcome to anyone and everyone. This is true for Belizeans of every class and occupation. It doesn’t take long at all to be considered a local and become accepted as a fellow Belizean. This is not only part of the culture of island life, but it is also part of the culture of tourism. By providing goods and services to an expanding population with fine tastes, high demand, and the funding to support new business, the people here understand that tourism is driving their economy. As such, it is not only common, it’s the norm for there to be new businesses, new residents, and new products and services available with each passing season.
Like anywhere, the occasional report of a tourist being the victim of a crime or even just poor treatment at the hands of someone in Belize does happen. These are isolated incidents that happen in every society around the world.
But for the overwhelming majority of visitors, they will find that Belizeans are patient, kind, and helpful. This is true not only of those in service industry positions, but also of people everywhere. It sounds cliché, but strangers really will stop and give you a hand or a ride. It is simply the island way of life – laid back, slow-paced, and friendly to all you meet. For more information on Belize’s expanding tourism industry, click here.