Cayo And Toledo Get Scholarly Advice On Their Tourism Product

For the past two weeks, a team of graduate students from the George Washington University in the United States have been in Cayo and Toledo immersing themselves in the tourism product that those districts have to offer.

But they weren't just on vacation, they were sampling the product with science, assessing it to come up with a plan to enhance the social and economic benefits that accrue to Belizean stakeholders.

They presented their preliminary findings today at the House of Culture and Director of Product Development Yahsin Dujon told us why it's valuable:…

Yahsin Dujon, Director of Product Development
"The team went out and we didn't out them up in the luxury hotels and we didn't put them up in the high end areas. We send them out to be on the ground to experience that these destinations have to offer. I think you will see in the report that we have some suggestions and recommendations for things like improvement of quality and standards in our tourism sector. We also have improvement of infrastructure that needs to be done especially in the two destinations that they were working in. They have identified some areas that need enhancement. We also need to look at our cultural tourism product and what's been done in the past to market and how we can better enhance the marketing of that."

Jennifer Bodie, GWU Grad Student Tourism Consultant
"I can't give you all our findings yet, we haven't have the presentation but we did that the people of Belize especially in the Toledo and Cayo districts are very amazing, they are friendly and hospitable. There are some things that need to be done with infrastructure and there are a lot of existing products that can be enhance, some that can be created. We made some recommendations as far as that adherence to certain standards and guidelines of the international community and then marketing so that people outside of Belize are also aware of the greatness and things that you have here."

Jules Vasquez
"What do you feel is the greatest that we need to harness and exploit?"

Jennifer Bodie, GWU Grad Student Tourism Consultant
"I feel there really is the people, I was specifically in the Toledo District and I met the Garifunas, the Mayans, the Mestizo, the Creole - these people are able to their stories and they history. They are Belize, they share their foods, music and that is kind of what people want to see - they want to immerse themselves in their lives and get these experiences."

Yahsin Dujon, Director of Product Development
"We are committed to finding funds now to focus on these areas that the stakeholders highlighted to them. We are also committed to working with them in terms of improving quality. Finding opportunities for cultural tourism to be develop and integrated now into our national master product."

The full plan will be presented in a month's time….

Channel 7