BELIZE CITY, BELIZE- October 22nd and 23rd 2014

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The Making Tourism Benefits Communities Adjacent to Archeological Sites (MTBCAAS) Project is proud to announce the official launch of its “Unique Belize” artisan programme. The launch took place over two days, October 22 and 23, 2014, at the Ramada Belize City Princess in Belize City. The event included the launch of the Unique Belize Brand and the exhibition of the first Unique Belize artisan product line. The Unique Belize artisan programme was made possible through The Government of Belize with counterpart funding from the European Union via the Belize Rural Development Programme 2 (BRDP 2). Unique Belize is a standardization, certification, and branding programme aimed at helping Belizean artisans working at or near to nine archeological sites in the country to promote their work in the local and international marketplace and to help consumers to identify and purchase authentic Belizean artwork.

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The Unique Belize label is designed to indicate that the artwork meets three criteria:

  • Firs, the artwork was created by a Belizean citizen or legal resident;
  • Second, the artwork is the original design of the artisan;
  • Third the artisan has been licensed or otherwise legally been given the authority by the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) to use the design.

The Unique Belize Artisan Programme is one of the major outcomes of the “Diversification of Community Based Tourism Products and Services” components of the MTBCAAS project. This component was initiated in November 2013 and involved a rapid assessment of the sector, the development and delivery of a small business and product development training as well as a three month mentorship programme for the artisans.

Sixty four artisans participated in the small business training programme, of which 42 were women. The artisans were then invited to participate in the advanced product development training, which focused on introducing product design innovation and production to piloting a new line of artwork that meet current market trends and are more appealing to identified target markets. Thirty-five (35) of them were then provided with a three month mentorship programme at the end of which they completed new product prototypes. The authentic Unique Belize artworks that they created will be exhibited at the Launch on October 22nd and 23rd 2014. Souvenir and giftware stores and buyers from around Belize are being invited to the Launch, and will be able to place orders with the artisans.

About the MTBCAAS project:

The Government of Belize received counterpart funding from the European Union via the Belize Rural Development Programme 2 (BRDP 2) to finance a project entitled “Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archeological Sites:” Co-financing for the project is being provided by the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation represented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History. The project is being implemented by the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History through a Project Execution Unit housed at the Belize Tourism Board offices.

The MTBCAAS Project was launched in March 2013 and is made possible with grant funding of BZ$2.75m from the European Union and BZ$1.25 contribution from the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History for a total estimated cost of BZ$4 million. It is being implemented over 24 month period and scheduled to be completed in November 2014.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To improve economic opportunities in rural communities and contribute to the reduction of poverty;
  • To enhance the tourism experience through improvements in tourism infrastructure and services at selected sites.

The project intends to achieve three main sets of results:

  • Result one: Improve three main sets of results;
  • Results Two: Improve health and safety provisions and infrastructure at archeological sites;
  • Results Three: Enhance the diversification of community based tourism products and services offered at archeological sites in Belize.

The MTBCAAS Project targets communities adjacent to the following nine archeological sites:

  • Actun Tunichil Muknal ATM
  • Altun Ha
  • Barton Creek
  • Blue Creek
  • Lamanai
  • Lubaantun
  • Nim LI Punit
  • Nohoc Che’en (Caves’ Branch)
  • Xunantunich

Contact:

Dr. Geraldo Flowers, Policy Coordinator

Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites

Phone: 227-1781 Email: geraldo.flowers@brdpiitourism.bz

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