“For those of us in Belize’s eco tourism industry, it means that our guests know that they are in a country where people are intelligent, informed, and not afraid to speak their minds."
San Ignacio, Belize (PRWEB) February 19, 2014
Belize being singled out for ranking high in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index is one more indication that the little Caribbean country is maturing as an attractive international travel destination according to the owner of The Lodge at Chaa Creek, a Belizean eco resort that sponsors a wide range of educational initiatives and cultural tours.
Lucy Fleming, who grew Chaa Creek from a family farm into Belize's first eco resort with her husband Mick in the 1980s, said that she considers freedom of press an essential part of Belize’s development not only as the Caribbean and Central America’s newest democracy, but as a more attractive tourism destination.
“One of the things that make a country an attractive place to live, visit and do business in is freedom of the press, and Belize’s recent high ranking in this area is something all Belizeans are justifiably proud of, and is something our visitors can take confidence in,” she said.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by the international organisation “Reporters Without Borders”(Reporters sans frontiers) ranked Belize in the top 15% of the 180 countries it listed and as the second highest in the Caribbean and Central America.
Belize even received special mention in the organisation’s website:
“This year’s index covers 180 countries, one more than last year. The new entry, Belize, has been assigned an enviable position (29th).”
The United States of America, by comparison, placed at number 46, and Belize’s neighbour, Mexico comes in at 151.
“An unhindered press and freedom of expression says a lot about a country and its people. It means that citizens aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and government isn’t afraid of people airing their views. A free press is the cornerstone of democracy and a good indicator of a vibrant, confident country.
“For those of us in Belize’s eco tourism industry, it means that our guests know that they are in a country where people are intelligent, informed, and not afraid to speak their minds. We think that, along with stunning natural beauty, a pristine, varied landscape that includes the world’s second largest barrier reef, huge tracts of protected rainforest dotted with the remnants of a rich Maya culture including beautiful intact temples and ancient cities, Belize offers something unique to the discerning visitor,” Ms Fleming said.
According to the 2014 World Press freedom Index, the world’s top three countries for press freedom are, in order, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway.
Reporters Without Borders lists the bottom three as Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.