In April 2015 Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio first unveiled plans to develop an eco-sensitive luxury resort on Blackadore Caye, the 104-acre unpopulated private island in Belize that he purchased with partner Jeff Gram, the owner of Cayo Espanto Island Resort.
Public Consultation on Plans for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Private Island Resort
Having held their first public consultation in January of this year, the Blackadore Caye Development Group has been meeting with stakeholders from the local area to as far as Corozal and Cayo District in order to discuss plans for the project and incorporate feedback into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
According to a spokesperson, the Blackadore Caye Development Group has met with over 100 stakeholders since May, including local fishermen, the Sports Fishing Association, the San Pedro Tour Guide Association, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Department of Environment, the Media, the Crocodile Research Coalition, the University of Belize, the Belize Tourism Industry Association, the Southern Environmental Organizations and the Global Indigenous Movement.
The next public consultation is expected to take place towards the end of August.
A Groundbreaking Green Development Project
Like many luxury resorts, the plans for Blackadore Caye include a collection of beachfront and over-the-water guest villas, which will be operated under the Restorative Islands brand.
However, DiCaprio intends Blackadore Caye to “be groundbreaking in the environmental movement,” he told the New York Times last year. “The main focus is to do something that will change the world,” he said.
DiCaprio, a committed supporter of environmental causes who sits on the board of the World Wildlife Fund, is planning to incorporate measures aimed at reversing years of environmental damage caused by overfishing, erosion of the coastline and deforestation of the island’s mangroves.
The plans include developing artificial reefs and fish shelters to support the diverse marine life, creating a nursery on the island to grow indigenous marine grass to support a manatee conservation area, replanting mangrove trees and replacing invasive species. All with a view to “help heal the island, to make it better than before,” DiCaprio explained.
The resort will include a collection of 68 “green” guest villas designed in accordance with eco-friendly building guidelines, a health and wellness program designed by Deepak Chopra and a conservation area covering 45% of the island.
Rising Demand for Belize
As progress on Blackadore Caye gathers pace, the involvement of Leonardo DiCaprio in such a ground-breaking, environmentally responsible luxury resort project is expected to raise the profile of Belize as an eco-tourism destination and Belize real estate in general.
Airlines have already begun to respond to the increased demand for Belize from passengers. In July American Airlines recently announced plans for same-day flights from London to Belize commencing 4th November 2016.
In addition, only last week Canadian airline WestJet announced it is to become the first Canadian airline to fly direct to Belize. Starting 29th October 2016, WestJet will operate non stop flights to Belize twice per week from Toronto to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport.