Bill Gates’ choice of Belize for his family’s spring vacation is another indication that the small Caribbean country has matured as a world-class tourism destination catering to a wide range of people while still retaining its intimate appeal, the owner of Belize’s premier eco resort said today.
Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick started the Lodge at Chaa Creek over 30 years ago, said that while Belize was still less visible than other Caribbean hotspots, the home-grown tourism industry has matured enough to attract visitors such as Gates, the founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, and members of Britain’s royal family.
“While Belize is still a relative new comer on the international tourism scene, our local travel industry has grown in leaps and bounds the last couple of decades, and we can now offer world-class services to the most discerning guests while retaining a unique, laid back charm,” Ms Fleming said.
Belize now boasts a higher quality infrastructure, better communications and enhanced security that is making the country more attractive to a wider range of guests, she said.
“In addition to a general appeal, we also have very strong niche market appeal in areas such as Maya culture and ancient history, a range of adventures from soft to extreme,first class diving and snorkelling and romance travel such as destination weddings and exotic honeymoons, she said.
Ms Fleming was referring to the Gate’s family visit to Belize aboard the super yacht, theAttessa IV, which dropped anchor just outside the Belize Barrier Reef near San Pedro town on Ambergris Cayes the morning of Tuesday Aril 10.
The 100-meter long yacht has a helipad and Ambergris Today reported that the Gates family were transported to the Cayo Espanto Private Island resort via helicopter and snorkelled the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The chopper also made its way west later in the week delivering the Gates daughters Jennifer (16), Phoebe (7) and a young friend into a rainforest experience, and a bit of pampering at the resort’s Hilltop Spa after they checked into Chaa Creek’s Spa Villa.
“We were very pleased that the Gates chose to send their young children to Chaa Creek as it shows not only that our beautiful location and range of attractions and activities are attractive to a discerning clientele, but that our commitment to the safety, security and privacy of our guests is well recognised,” Ms Fleming said.
She said that Phoebe Gates was “enthralled” with the resorts popular Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm and releasing one into the rainforest, while her older sister and her friend had a pedicure and nail polishing at the Spa before enjoying a pizza and pasta lunch at the Chaa Creek restaurant.
“Having hosted Prince Harry at Chaa Creek when he visited Belize last March we are taking pride in the fact that not only Chaa Creek, but Belize as a whole is attracting the sort of guests who can afford to stay where ever they choose, while at the same time remaining an affordable destination for the average family, couple or individual looking for something special. To be able to cater for such a wide range of people speaks very well for Chaa Creek and the Belizean tourism industry and we look forward to even more recognition in the future,” she said.