Congratulations to the Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development (PCSD) for winning the global “Best in the Marine Environment” award from Responsible Tourism Awards, a UK-based initiative sponsored by the Royal Geographic Society and World Travel Market.
PCSD was formed in 2006 by concerned residents in Placencia, a peninsula in southern Belize with 16 miles of sandy beaches threatened by rapid, unplanned, poorly executed and unsustainable tourism development.
PCSD was recognized for its work to organize peninsula citizens to support locally-based tourism initiatives and oppose cruise tourism on the peninsula, as well as education, reforestation, and other conservation projects.
PCSD’s nocruises.org initiative helped educate local residents about Government of Belize plans to develop cruise tourism on the peninsula, which galvanized citizen opposition. In addition to its community organizing, PCSD filed suit against the Department of Environment (DoE) for its approval of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Placencia Marina project – claiming that the DoE had failed to adequately assess the true impacts of the project. PCSD lost that case in court, but is planning an appeal. The Marina would have negative impacts on local ecosystems and could tip the scales, shifting the local economy away from local, sustainable tourism toward larger scale, more destructive tourism.