Francis Ford Coppola’s famed resorts in Belize, Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, have formalized two strategic alliances that further the company’s commitment and dedication to fostering best practices in ecotourism and sustainable travel. Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have joined the Sustainable Tourism Program led by the Rainforest Alliance, the international nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to helping businesses develop and implement practices spanning sustainable forestry, agriculture, tourism, climate and education. The two Coppola properties have also joined forces with one of the early leaders in the sustainable travel movement, Sustainable Travel International’s global Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP), which represents the gold standard for companies striving to be environmentally innovative and socially responsible.
“The Coppolas see their role as that of a conservator,” said Serena Lightner, vice president of Coppola Resorts. Adding, “We’re grateful for the opportunities to work with the Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Travel International. Each of these organizations is a world-renowned sustainable tourism specialist. We look forward to working with each organization to further our commitment to ecotourism and carry out the Coppolas’ dedication to Belize’s pristine environment.”
The Coppola Resorts in Belize are currently undertaking an aggressive array of sustainability initiatives. Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge are currently implementing a stainless steel bottle program aimed at reducing plastic water bottle consumption by guests. Additionally, Blancaneaux Lodge has actively begun implementing eco-friendly systems and procedures for recycling as well as preserving water and power on the property. Both properties feature expansive organic gardens that supply fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants, reducing their carbon footprint by using locally sourced ingredients.
Blancaneaux Lodge: Biodiversity Conservation & Research Projects; Workshops
Blancaneaux Lodge is surrounded by 300-square miles in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the largest and oldest of Belize’s protected areas. Coppola Resorts’ Director of Marketing Neil Rogers, known as a leading sustainable tourism expert with 25 years of experience, and Blancaneaux Lodge Conservation Officer Roni Martinez work together to implement sustainable initiatives and offer guests an elevated travel experience. Blancaneaux Lodge works closely with several organizations to preserve biodiversity and protect the environment. Its valued partnerships, such as the ones with Friends for Conservation and Development, Belize Raptor Research Institute, and the Ix Jaguar Research project coordinated by Dr. Marcella Kelly of the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife at Virginia Tech have provided guests with a unique opportunity to experience Belize from a different point of view. Guests are given an exclusive opportunity to be part of the ongoing research and development, a chance to benefit from the long-standing working relationships between Blancaneaux Lodge’s expert guides and their colleagues and scientists in the field through various projects and workshops. A portion of all the workshop fees are donated to the respective conservation or research groups involved.
Additional environmental efforts include the hydroelectric plant that the Coppolas installed in 1993. It harnesses the energy of Privassion Creek that runs through Blancaneaux Lodge, supplying the property with some renewable power. Excess energy that is generated is used to heat the hot pool at the Waterfall Spa.
Turtle Inn Conservation Efforts
Turtle Inn is Coppola’s Belizean seafront hideaway that he opened to the public in 2003. Originally acquired in 2001, it was swept out to sea by the forces of Hurricane Iris. Turning disaster into triumph, the Coppola’s led a two-year reclamation project with the vision of creating an intimate beachside resort perfect for those seeking privacy and a stress-relieving escape. The entire property at Turtle Inn, which features 25 individual cottages and villas just steps from the Caribbean Sea is created using low profile, environmentally sound designs, thatch, hardwoods, pine and bamboo. Screened windows and doors, ceiling fans and high, thatched ceilings allow for sufficient air circulation to enable hot air to escape – designed to keep cool without air conditioning. The flow control showerheads are used in the indoor bathrooms at all properties. Turtle Inn also uses local and regional plants that do not rely on intensive irrigation for landscaping. Additionally, Turtle Inn is committed to supporting the community’s environmental efforts and joins forces with many different marine conservation groups such as SEABelize.
About Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.
About Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International (STI) is a global non-profit organization that works with travelers, businesses and destinations to protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage and promote economic development. By specializing in market-driven programs that generate tangible results and affect systemic change, STI has become a global leader in sustainable tourism development collaborating with industry leaders worldwide from Fortune 500 companies and micro-sized enterprises to developed nations and emerging destinations. For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.com.
About Francis Ford Coppola Resorts
The Coppola Resorts are a collection of unique award-winning properties where stylish and eco-friendly exploration and discovery meets serenity and delight. Drawing upon inspiration from his film career and travels to the far reaching corners of the world, each resort is an ideal destination known for the intuitive nature of the friendly staff to the allure of exploring the natural wonders of the area while relaxing in tranquil surroundings. Francis puts it best saying, “There are things to do – or just do nothing.” The Coppola Resorts offer a glimpse into the values that Francis holds dear – family, fun, adventure, and great food and wine. These elements can be seen throughout each property, weaved into the landscape, creating a personal Coppola connection for all to enjoy. The Coppola Resort properties at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have been listed as the “Best Resorts in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as many other travel authorities.