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Marketing

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Overview
Belize is slightly larger than Massachusetts (22,963 sq. km/8,866 sq. miles). The capital, Belmopan has a population of 4,500. Belize borders the Caribbean Sea along the eastern shore of Central America just below the Yucatan Peninsula. It is bounded on its north and west side by Mexico and on its south and west side by Guatemala. The Caribbean Sea lies to the east and from the air its turquoise waters are clear, allowing the multicolored coral formation of the Great Barrier Reef to be easily observed. Coral islands called cays, covered with stands of mangrove trees, dot the coast. Lying in aquamarine and jade-colored bays, these cays protect the jungled coastline from the ravages of the sea.
History
The first inhabitants of Central America, of which we have any record, were the Mayas. These people had built an impressive civilization which reached its peak before the Europeans began their voyages of exploration to the New World. Little is known of the origins of the Mayan people, whose achievements are said to have rivaled those of the Egyptians. Many facets of their culture were unsurpassed until A.D. 1000 when the whole civilization collapsed. Temples and buildings were abandoned with the departure of the priests, probably due to a revolt among the peasantry. Many of the farmers remained until well into the fourteenth century, but then they too left, following the priestly classes to the Yucatan. The way of the Mayan people are, however, still evidential throughout Central America and can be seen in many areas of Belize.
Like most Caribbean countries because of their location, Belize does experience sporadic hurricanes, and some of them have been quite spectacular. One of the first recorded cyclones devastated the newly founded Bay Settlement in September 1787. In September 1931, at a crowded celebration of St. George's Caye Day, a storm hit Belize City with 150 mph winds. It lasted an hour; many emerged to stare at the horrific damage. However, it was not over, for the lull was the eye of the hurricane. After, a tidal wave fifteen feet high swept the already beleaguered city and the rest of the storm passed. The death toll rose to 2,500 and very little was left standing. It was due to this catastrophic event that Britain, in rushing relief, aid and funds to Belize City, was able to take over financial control of the colony.
Later, a new constitution, which remains in effect today, was adopted in 1964 and provided a fully representative government. Britain only retained responsibility for foreign affairs, defense, security and civil service employment. The nation of Belize was on the brink of coming into being, but it would take more than fifteen years before independence would finally be granted. This relinquishing of control was in many ways gradual, with the transfer of treasury control from Britain to Belize in 1966. The opening of factories within the country to manufacture much needed commodities, thus cutting down on the dependence on foreign goods; the improvement of agricultural methods; and the encouragement of the tourist trade all have contributed to the relative financial independence of Belize. In 1971 Belize joined CARIFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade Area. This provided an extended market for Belize's agricultural products.
The country's name was changed on June 1st, 1973, from British Honduras to Belize. Belize then attained independence on September 21st, 1981. From 1975 to 1979, the United States abstained on all the United Nations resolutions concerning Belize's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Finally, in 1980, it changed its policy of neutrality and voted in favor of the United Nations resolution that called for the independence of Belize. This resolution was adopted in November 1980. It demanded the secure independence of Belize, with all its territory, before the next session of the United Nations in 1981. It called on Britain to continue to defend Belize, and on all countries to come to its assistance. One hundred and thirty-nine countries voted in favor of the resolution, with seven abstentions and none against. Guatemala refused to vote. The British are still maintaining a military presence in Belize, but are working with the Belizean Defense Force to help ensure national security.
Demographics
There are approximately 170,000 people in Belize. Belize was made up of pirates, lumbermen and their slaves, primarily because of their British background. There was assimilation with the neighboring Spanish, Mexican and Indian populations. Today's population balance is approximately: The original inhabitants of Belize who were Preceramic hunters and gatherers, the Maya Indians populated the area from 2000 B.C. until the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s. However, many Maya groups had left the once heavily populated area in the 10th century A.D., and immigrated to the Yucatan. It was not until after the British occupied Belize that they returned.
Today, there are three distinct Mayan groups, each speaking their own dialect of the Mayan language. They are the Yucateco Maya, the Mopanero Maya and the Kekchi.
Ethnic divisions for all of Belize in 1995: • Creoles - 30% of population. Creole is a mixture of English and African blacks, African or mixed African descent. • Mestizos - 44% of population primarily Spanish-speaking. • Garifuna - 7% of population are a mixture of African blacks and Indian. • The mayans - 11% of population whose languages are mutually unintelligible. • East Indians - 2.1% of population. Migrated 1860's to 1880's. • Other, including Caucasians - 8% of population (American, Arabian, Lebanese, British).
Religion

Roman Catholic seems to be the predominant religion in Belize as a recorded 62 percent protest this faith while the other religions make up the remaining 38 percent. Protestant 30% which is made up of (Anglican 12%, Methodist 6%, Mennonite 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1% and other 2%), none 2% and other 6% (1980). Ambergris has a larger percentage of Roman Catholics. In addition to their partnership with the Government in running the educational system, denominations provide many social and family welfare services. The Constitution provides for the freedom of religion.
Language

English is the official language of Belize as well as the language of instruction in schools. Spanish is also widely spoken and is taught in primary and secondary schools. In certain areas of the country, such as the Corozal and Grange Walk Districts in the north and the Cayo District in the west, Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the people. In the southern districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya. Nearly everyone speaks an English dialect (or Creole patois), the vernacular of the country. Belize Radio One broadcasts about 80% of its programs in English and the remainder in Spanish. It has now introduced programs in Garifuna and Maya.
Government
Belize has a Parliamentary Democracy based on the Westminster system. The country is a sovereign, democratic state. A Prime Minister and Cabinet make up the executive branch, while a 28-member elected House of Representatives and eight- member appointed Senate form a bi-cameral legislature. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 is the titular (lead of State). She is represented in Belize by a Governor-General, who must be a Belizean.
Value Systems
The Belizean culture is a mix of influences from the very diverse culture of their people. Kriol, Maya, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans), Mennonites who are of German descent, with a blend of many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese. This unique blend emerged through the country's long and occasionally violent history. Courtesy is important to most Belizeans. It is not uncommon for Belizeans to greet each other on the street even if they have never seen each other before, or for acquaintances to spend minutes at a time chatting, oblivious to what is happening around them. Another aspect of the culture is the idea of the mystical healing and Obeah. In their folklore, we find the legends of Lang Bobi Suzi, La Llorona, Cadejo, La Sucia, the Tata Duende and X'tabai. Marriage and family is also very valued in Belize. Traditional Belizean marriages are commonly celebrated with church weddings and colorful receptions featuring food, drink and dance. In recent times there has been an increasing number of Belizean families are headed by single parents, especially mothers.
Business Practices and Attitude towards Foreign Investment
Belize’s economy was traditionally based on forestry, mainly the export of logwood, mahogany and chicle. The country's economy is driven on agricultural development. But in recent years there has been resurgence in forestry. The main exports are sugar, citrus, bananas, fish products (mainly lobster), timber and garments. Dairy farming is growing in importance and the livestock industry continues to grow. Several oil companies hold exploration or prospecting licenses. Oil was discovered in the north of the country in 1981, but not in commercial quantities. Tax concessions and other incentives encourage the development and diversification of manufacturing industries which include clothing and textiles for export, plywood and veneer manufacturing, matches, beer, rum, soft drinks, furniture, boat building, and battery assembly.
A wide range of businesses exist which include legal practice, engineering, medical practice, agricultural production, meat processing, educational, banking, fisheries, mercantilism, peddling, handicraft, data processing, services, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and many others. Tourism is playing an important part in upgrading the economy of Belize. Such active organizations as the Belize Audubon Society are dedicated to preserving the natural beauties and habitats of the country while helping to make them available to visitors from all over the world.
The country generally welcomes investment. Investment is monitored and facilitated through the Ministry of Investment & Trade as well as Beltraide, a statutory body whose main objective is attracting and facilitating new investment. There are no restrictions on foreign investment as long as activities remain within the bounds of the law.

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