Perhaps spurred by these economic changes and a growing desire to protect the environment, America's interest in 'green' vacations is skyrocketing. In 2007, the national park system in the United States reported a three million visitor increase from 2006. Moving away from theme park or city oriented vacations, travelers are packing their bags and heading out for a good ol' fashioned outdoor adventure.
Yet, for most, a combination of yester-years destination trips combined with the new emphasis on adventure would be a match made in heaven.
Enter Belize. While many tourist destinations have noticed a steady decline in numbers during America's economic troubles, Belize's tourism growth rate (2.6%) has risen to one of the highest in the western hemisphere. The specific reason for this swell of interest in the Central American country is debatable, but the potential reasons are many.
"Our national language is English, we've got turquoise-tinted Caribbean waters, we've got world class scuba diving on the longest coral reef in the northern hemisphere, we've got pristine jungles and ancient Mayan ruins – I think travelers are realizing Belize is sort of an all in one kind of place," says Roberto Fabbri of the Kanantik Resort, one of the top luxury eco-sensitive resorts in Belize.
Roberto Fabbri fell in love with Belize as a wildlife photographer in the late 1990's. He remained in Belize with a dream to build the top luxury eco-sensitive resort in Belize. Construction of Kanantik Reef & Jungle Resort became a work of passion for Mr. Fabbri with the finest materials carefully brought in from the surrounding areas to maintain Kanantik's harmony with the Belizean landscape. Interior designs were styled in the Mayan tradition, furnishings were hand-crafted from Belizean hardwoods and every attempt was made to preserve the pristine setting and natural environment surrounding Kanantik.
The backcountry of Belize offers outdoor enthusiasts hikes to Mayan ruins and the recently popular 'cave tubing' excursions that have been the impetus behind a slew of adventure videos and reality TV shows featuring Belize.
The aquatically daring can find in Belize the world's second largest barrier reef, and with airfare at nearly one third the cost of a trip 'down-under' it may be the best deal available for scuba divers.
Of course, for the vacationers looking to simply relax, escape, and enjoy a new surrounding and setting – Belize is an easy sell. Palm-shaded sandy beaches, warm Caribbean waters, exotic foods, a friendly and carefree people, and a country that puts a premium on preserving the environment.
So, while the downward spiraling economy has most Americans driving less and conserving more, it hasn't diminished their need for a good sun-splashed tropical vacation. And with more and more folks looking for adventure along with the usual vacation amenities – the ticket of choice seems more often than not to be labeled with the word 'Belize' in bold letters across the top.