When one thinks of Belize they usually invoke images of sunshine, historical sites and beautiful weather. This tourist destination is more than just a place to view amazing structures, but it's also slowly transforming into an important business state in the region with its latest discovery of oil.
Although Belize is suffering from the strangleholds of public debt and a weak economy, the nation is expected to grow once the global economy starts to rev up again. Its primary industries consist of agriculture, construction, tourism and oil.
With a $3 billion gross domestic product, an increase in oil extrapolation and production efforts and the second-highest per capita income in Central America, Belize may offer tremendous business opportunities in the near future.
Here are five business etiquettes to know in Belize:
Despite the fact that English is the official language of Belize, most residents speak either Spanish or Creole. Other languages spoken include Mayan dialects, Garifuna and German – there are also unknown languages.
Belizeans are indirect and avoid coming to the point of their interaction. In other words, Belizeans detest confrontation. Furthermore, individuals will be honest but tactful in what they communicate to others if it's something negative or a criticism.
There are no specific etiquette protocols to follow when it comes to personal space or touch. Belizeans are rather indifferent in terms of touching or invading someone's personal space, whether it's in a business setting or during a personal interaction. With that being said, there isn't a lot of touching or affection.
Eye contact isn't important to Belizeans when they converse.
The general dress code for men and women is casual. Men will usually sport long pants and a collared shirt with sandals, while women will wear pants and a shirt with sandals. All types of sandals are accepted.
All forms of greetings will initially begin with small talk: a simple hello, good morning/afternoon/evening and an exchanging of pleasantries about neutral topics (weather) will suffice. A handshake is the normal procedure when individuals meet each other for the very first time.
If you travel to rural communities then expect an entirely different atmosphere as Maya traditions maintain a dominant male culture as women are focused upon household chores and taking care of the children.
Professional Titles & Business Cards
Belizeans address each other as Mr. and Mrs. followed by their last name – in some instances men will call one other Mr. followed by their first name. It is important to wait until someone permits the other to address them on a first-name basis.
There is no specific code of behaviour when it comes to giving and receiving business cards.
The views of punctuality are pretty loose as schedules are not strictly enforced. This means that when a meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. then it's expected that people will only arrive at around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.
Belize is an interesting country because of how its roots date back to the Mayans. It has immensely progressed over the past century thanks to the adoption of free market practices and advancements in technology, which has greatly increased the wealth of households. Belize is welcoming to business and its people are laid back.
Have you previously conducted business Belize? Let us know in the comment section.
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