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GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY: TOURISM ATTRACTION, NATIONAL CELEBRATION DAY, OR MANIFESTATION OF ETHNIC IDENTITY?

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This article focuses on the way the government of Belize, a postcolony nation in Central America, has to maneuver between its aim to work towards a nation-state mentality and the existence of local ethnic manifestations, which emphasizes the internal diversity in this multiethnic society. The government and all kinds of (non)government-related organizations in Belize promote Belize as an attractive tourist destination. In doing so it is important to promote the variation of possibilities that are available in the country. Ethnic celebrations are one of them. As a tourist attraction these ethnic-related manifestations do have an economic value not only for both the government and business organizations, but also for local entrepreneurs. The authors suggest that the government has three arguments to encourage ethnic-related manifestations. As a result, the ethnic groups are able to take advantage of their special celebrations to attract tourists. In addition, these events are also an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to sell their ethnic merchandise to tourists. Finally, these special celebration days are a possibility for the tourists to get acquainted with local indigenous cultures.
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Keywords: Authenticity; Belize; Ethnic tourism; Ethnicity; Nation building

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 2: †Inholland University

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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