Sunday is World Post Day.

By Melanie Lieberman
October 25, 2016
Courtesy of Belize Tourism Board

Before the Universal Post Union was created in 1874, the exchange of mail across country lines was messy, complicated, and inconsistent. Historical records indicate mail may have been delivered as early as 255 B.C. in Egypt—yet it took millennia before even uniform postage rates were introduced (in 1840).

It just so happens that the first known picture postcard was mailed that very same year.

October 9 is World Post Day, and we're tipping our hats to the Universal Post Union, which has been responsible for maintaining a global mail network for more than 140 years.

In celebration of World Post Day, the Belize Tourism Board wants to breathe new life into the tradition of the picture postcard. At the peak of paper correspondence, in 1951, some 4.5 billion postcards were received in the United States.

That number was just 838 million in 2015.

“Nothing beats the excitement of opening the mailbox to find a handwritten postcard from a far-flung place,” said Belize’s director of tourism Karen Bevans in a statement.

Courtesy of Belize Tourism Board

The Belize Tourism Board promises to respond to any postcard they receive between World Post Day and November 9 with a handwritten postcard from Belize. Locals will include in their penpal-style note fun facts about the country and tips for visiting.

And one person will receive a second postcard, congratulating them on winning a four-night trip to Belize, round-trip airfare included.