You might not know it, but a lot of those tourism mementoes, the curios and trinkets that you see bearing the name "Belize" are actually made in Chine, or, worse, sometimes even Guatemala. And now, a project called "Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites" is trying to change that. A $350,000 dollar project has been awarded to a Caribbean consultant to teach Belizean producers how to make crafts that are genuine products of Belize. We found out more at the launch today:...

Ian Morrisson, Project Coordinator - MTBCAAS
"In this segment they will be doing training in standardization, branding and certification of the products. This will allow the artisans to have a better marketability and to ensure that there is a sustainable market for the products in the future."

"It is to ensure that the products are authentic Belizean products. As you know we have heard in the past that a number of products are imported into Belize and the name is just written on these products. What we will be doing, we will ensure that these products are made in Belize by Belizeans and for Belizeans."

Laura Esquivel Frampton, Director of Tourism
"Being in the tourism industry a lot of complaint that we get in terms of when we do our surveys is that persons want to buy souvenirs in Belize but they want to buy authentic Belizean products and that has been one of our drawbacks also. How does the tourist tell what is a Belizean made product versus what is something that was maybe imported and they put the name Belize on it."

"If we are able to have an organization such as our sister agency NICH be able to certify that these products are authentically Belizean, that would give the souvenir person an edge within Belize selling to tourists but then that can open up for export where we can begin to use our markets properly with standardize products."

Dianne Haylock, President - NICH
"When we have so much; we dont need to be copying from anybody else. We don't need to be taking these things from China and writing Belize on it because we have so much - we are blessed with so much, but the thing is how do we take what we have and make it the very best it can be and that for me is what this project is all about."

Roberte Laurente, CEO - BEL TZIB
"Because the tourists when they come on your island what they want to see they want to bring apart of Belize back to their country. When they are sitting in their living room they want to remember 'I went to Belize and this is what I brought with me.' They don't want to see something from China, they want something from the country that they visit. It is so important and this is what we are going to be delivering; that products made from Belize when every single tourist coming in - they will be able to buy, not only anything but something that they could be proud of."

"You have beautiful craft. From there we are going to train these people to be able to mass produce them, do them much better to what they are doing now."

Ian Morrisson, Project Coordinator - MTBCAAS
"This is open to Belizeans on a whole living near in these communities. There will be no separation and we are hoping that as much as possible we want the Belizeans living near these sites to benefit from this project."

The hope to produce a minimum of 20 standardized products.

The larger "Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites" project was launched in March of this year with grant funding $2.75m Belize dollars from the European Union and BZ$1.25 contribution from BTB and NICH 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.

Channel 7


The MTBCAAS Project reached another milestone in achieving its objectives and results of the Project. A contract, in the amount of $344,072 (Three hundred forty four thousand and seventy two dollars), was awarded to the consulting firm BELZEB CONSULTING of Grenada, West Indies via tendering process to provide consultancy for diversification of community based tourism products and services to National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and Belize Tourism Board (BTB).

The contract involves the development and delivery of a training program in standardization, branding and certification for Belizean made arts and crafts products being sold at archaeological sites and elsewhere. The consultancy will also advise on how best to utilize the marketing resources of BTB and NICH to assist artisans in marketing their Belizean made products for international consumption. This initiative will directly impact and benefit artisans living and working in communities that are primarily near to archaeological sites.

The Signing of Contract Ceremony took place on Monday, November 4, 2013 at the House of Culture, Regent Street, Belize City. The Government of Belize received counterpart funding from the European Union via the Belize Rural Development Program II (BRDP II) to finance a project entitled “Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites:” Co-financing for the project is being provided by the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture 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:

Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites:

*Results One: Improve the monitoring systems at archaeological sites;

*Results Two: Improve health and safety provisions and infrastructure at archaeological sites;

*Results Three: Enhance the diversification of community based tourism products and services offered at archaeological sites in Belize.

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

Xunantunich, Nohoch Che’en (Caves’ Branch), Nim Li Punit, Barton Creek, Altun Ha, Lubaantun, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Lamanai and Blue Creek.

For more information, please contact:

Project Coordinator, Ian Morrison at 610-1912 or ian.morrison@brdpIItourism.bz
Administrative Officer, Rubiceli Bradley at 660-0352 or rubiceli.bradley@brdpIItourism.bz