The recognition of the role of tourism in sustainable development and the emphasis placed in the SDGs on the development of public policies for sustainable tourism is a landmark breakthrough that provides a unique opportunity for all governments to create a sound and favourable policy foundation.
The first two years of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda have shown that countries are making headway in aligning national strategies, adapting institutional frameworks and adjusting policies to realize the SDGs. The countries’ efforts have been reported in the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), presented by UN Member States during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2016 and 2017.
In Belize’s Voluntary National Review, the tourism sector is seen as an opportunity to achieve SDG 14- Life below water. The National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan (NSTMP) together with other specific regulations, strategies and polices have provided the operational direction for sustainability of oceans and marine resources.
According to their VNR, Belize’s framework for sustainable fisheries management has proven to be effective; however, this can be further enhanced by updating the Fisheries Act. The modernization of the Fisheries Act and supporting regulations will directly contribute to accomplishing Target 14.2, 14.7, 14.B and 14.C all of which integrates programs that intend to promote added value to the fishery sector, new markets for non-traditional species, increasing economic benefits, non traditional fishery employment and natural resource-based tourism.