Belize has a small open economy that ranks favorably in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.
If you are thinking of investing in Belize, it is critical to get your facts right! Information is only good if it is accurate. Doing your homework before your business plan will help you avoid stumbling blocks that may be very costly…and as we all know, time is money.
If you’re thinking of investing in tourism, find out if your project fits into the overall Tourism Strategy for Belize. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) will answer questions like, “Where in Belize are the areas that are most suitable for the type of investment I wish to make?” “Will the government support my venture?” “What permits or licenses will my type of business require? And, “What are the criteria or conditions attached to obtaining the necessary licenses or permits?”
Your next stop should be the Department of the Environment (DOE) to obtain and complete an environmental checklist so it can be determined if your project requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The DOE can provide guidance as to whether or not your idea may be controversial in the community in which you propose to develop. The DOE can also give advice in construction planning, such as handling waste water and solid waste, and how to mitigate potential negative effects on the environment that may result from your proposed project.
Your third stop should be the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) to find out if your project would qualify for any investment incentives offered by the Government of Belize and what are the requirements and conditions of those concessions. Beltraide also offers business facilitation services you may need as you proceed with your project. Be sure to get a copy of their “Investors Manual,” a handbook of useful information for investors.
As an investor in the Belizean tourism industry and a former Executive Chairman of BELTRAIDE, I have the special privilege and experience of both sides of the fence: the public sector perspective of promoting and facilitating investments and the private sector perspective of actually living the challenges faced by investors in this beautiful jewel of ours, Belize. So my advice is to make it your business to invest in Belize from an informed position. And know this: while no investment is without risk, without doubt, Belize’s investment potential, like its natural resources, abounds.