Belize – Lonely Planet Travel Video
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Belize, formerly British Honduras, is a country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and speaking many languages. Although Kriol and Spanish are also widely spoken among the populace, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language.
It is bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the south and west, and the Caribbean sea to the east. With 8,867 square miles (22,960 km²) of territory and 320,000 people (2008 est.), the population density is the lowest in the Central American region and one of the lowest in the world. However, the country’s population growth rate, 2.21% (2008 est.), is the highest in the region and one of the highest in the western hemisphere. Culturally, Belize considers itself to be both Caribbean and Central American.
Tourism and Ecotourism
A combination of natural factors—climate, the Belize Barrier Reef, 127 offshore Cayes (islands), excellent fishing, safe waters for boating, scuba diving, and snorkeling, numerous rivers for rafting, and kayaking, various jungle and wildlife reserves of fauna and flora, for hiking, bird watching, and helicopter touring, as well as many Maya ruins—support the thriving tourism and ecotourism industry.
It also has the largest cave system in Central America . Development costs are high, but the Government of Belize has designated tourism as its second development priority after agriculture. In 2007, tourist arrivals totaled 251,655 (more than 210,000 from the U.S.) and tourist receipts amounted to $183.3 million.
Religious freedom is guaranteed in Belize. Nearly 80% of the inhabitants are Christian, with 49.6% of Belizeans being Roman Catholics and 29% Protestants.. Foreign catholics frequently visit the country for special gospel revivals. The Greek Orthodox Church has a presence in Santa Elena.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have experienced a significant increase in membership in recent years. According to the Witnesses, around 3% of the population attended at least one religious meeting in 2007. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims 3,300 members in the country
Other non-Christian minorities include: Hinduism, followed by most Indian immigrants, and Islam, common among Middle Eastern immigrants and has gained a following among some Kriols.
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