Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites
A four million dollar project which is partly funded by the European Union was launched yesterday March 20. The project is part of the ongoing work by the Belize Tourism Board and is aimed to benefit communities located near archeological sites. It will be implemented over a two year period at six sites around the country. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Several archeological sites and their neighboring communities will get a much needed facelift courtesy of a BRDP II Project. “Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites” is an initiative that the Belize Tourism Board and NICH officially launched today at the House of Culture in Belize City. The project in its entirety is estimated at a cost of four million dollars and the European Union in November of 2012 provided a grant of two point seven five million dollars towards the project.
Laura Esquivel-Frampton, Director of Tourism
“The project seeks to achieve the integration of rural communities into the tourism sector through improved access; that is the infrastructure, safety and standards at the archeological sites—again we are looking at the safety standards in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of the standards with which we would like to operate at these sites. This project will address key objectives of our national sustainable tourism master plan. It addresses business and product development as well as marketing awareness particularly for our artisans in the vicinity of the archeological sites. It addresses infrastructure and accessibility to key tourism attractions which is part of our mandate within the master plan.”
Manuel Heredia Jr.
The project seeks to improve the economic opportunities for rural communities; alleviating poverty and enhancing the overall tourism experience.
Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
“The project will strategically target and execute the following activity: design and create and implement a database collection and management system to provide a quality management tool at our archeological sites; enact and enforce regional regulation for health and safety standards and produce a manual for implementation of regulation at archeological sites. Improve health and safety provisions and enhance visitor facilities to meet regional standards including enhancement to trails, silent systems and infrastructure and access. Train personnel in health and safety including cave rescuing training. Develop product certification standards, product branding and quality control mechanism for locally produced art and craft.”
The project is only one of the many supported through funding by the European Union.
Ambassador Paola Amadei, Representative, European Union to Belize
“The BRDP II is a program of twenty-five million Belizean dollars which has taken different inclination; it has funded a number of different actions. And it is thanks to the government of Belize and the European Union were able to support the Toledo Cocoa Growers Association. They were able to support the YWCA and in fact yesterday in Belmopan we opened a new facility for the Y. the Belize Botanical Garden. It is also thanks to these programs that a number of new infrastructures are being upgraded or renovated or constructed and the process is ongoing.”
The tourism experience will be enhanced at the archeological sites of Xunantunich, Barton Creek, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Caves Branch, Altun Ha, Lamanai, Nim Li Punit, Lubaatun and Blue Creek. Duane Moody for News Five.