Well it’s finally happened. Leonardo DiCaprio and fellow developer wellness architecture and design company Delos have released a PR statement about their intentions for Blackadore Caye. The statement from Travel Weekly declares that the resort will be the ‘greenest island resort ever built’ and that it will be “triple net zero”, meaning it will be designed to produce as much energy and water as it uses while eliminating waste”. How it ‘eliminates’ the waste (grey water, black water, solid, recyclable and organic) will be quite a trick but maybe they have a few new technologies that can be adopted by other island resorts in Belize.
The New York Times; Telegraph; Daily Mail and Mirror newspapers were just some of the few I saw carrying this story over the weekend. Comments in the San Pedro Scoop focused on how the PR company stated they were going to ‘heal’ Blackadore Caye and improve the ecosystem. As you can imagine the response from local residents on social media has been one of amusement, bemusement and often outright hostility.
They’re certainly bold and very ambitious claims for a partnership working on its first island development project in a destination that has heard it all before but rarely seen the promised results. Having said that I would expect that DiCaprio and Delos will engage some of the world’s most talented architects to design, build and later manage the footprint of the resort in how they perceive a green and environmentally friendly way should be.
On the plus side when celebrities such as DiCaprio lend their global brands to countries like Belize it certainly adds some glamour and sex appeal. At a time when the tourism industry to Belize is caught in a downward spiral of cruise ship’s ranging ever further south, a growing pressure to sanction large scale coastal and island developments and a brand that is now settling for mid-market mediocrity Belize’s tourism industry could certainly do with some A list support.
However, ill worded PR releases coupled to a lack of up-front clarity and transparency and the staggering investment and condo sales figures mooted in the articles will only set the alarm bells ringing on Ambergris Caye and beyond. Lets give Leonardo a chance to put his case forward and allow the public to see the results of a thorough EIA before we judge him, Delos and ‘the greenest island resort ever built’ too harshly.