Last night, we showed you the Ministry of Tourism's Launch of the Corozal Tourism Destination Development Plan. It's part of an IDB funded called the Sustainable Tourism Project II (2), in which the Ministry is trying to boost traffic to emerging destinations like Corozal, Caye Caulker, and Toledo, which have attractions, but aren't as well-known as the blue chip tourism destinations like San Pedro, Placencia, and the Cayo District.
Well, the Ministry says that though Cayo's Rainforest Lodges and rivers may be a mainstay for visitors, the district's lesser known attractions need more attention. That's why today, they launched the Destination Development Plan for that District. It focuses on the sites such as Chiquibul, Caracol, and the Mountain Pine Ridge area, and today our News Team went to San Ignacio to find out what they intend to do improve these areas. Here's what the experts told us today:
Terry Wright, Program Manager - STP 2
"Caracol in particular was identified in the national sustainable master plan as being the iconic anchor sign for Belize and fro the western part of the country. From day 1 we knew that we needed to put some kind of investment into Caracol. we will be upgrading the facilities there, particularity looking at water and just the basic infrastructure really, but it's the needs about that water is a particular problem, looking at alternative solutions for energy and then upgrading the facilities that are there so we can increase the visitor experience, the value for money and so forth."
Yashin Dujon, CEO - Ministry of Tourism
"The STP2 destination development plan for Cayo focuses not only on Caracol but also on Chiquibul National Park, Chiquibul Forest Reserve and the Mountain Pine Ridge. It treats all 4 protected areas as one tourism destination that is going to make critical investments in to develop for tourism use and further development. There several challenges, I think that road access was brought up here at this meeting and we intend to address it although we may or may not have concrete budget to complete it. There are other challenges that happened with security, maintenance of tourism infrastructure in the area with low utilization, so we intend to address all of those matter from here on out to see how we can improve usage and infrastructure development in the 4 protected areas. STP1 focused in developing 4 of these traditional tourist destination areas. STP2 now is focusing on the emerging destinations areas that we intend to develop. So a launch was held last week in Corozal and in Toledo as well. We're hosting one here today and one will be hosted next week in Caye Caulker. The focus on these emerging areas is to put the investments in place to facilitate tourism growth, to help with the expansion of the development within these areas."
Dr. John Morris - Director, Institute of Archeology
"The Cayo district, extremely rich diverse environment. People call it the Mecca of Tourism, people say you come to Belize, you go to the Cayes or you come to Cayo and that's it. Now it's Placencia I think and PG too. Hopefully by time this STP2 is over we're going to have Corozal and other places."
Karen Pike, Director of Marketing - BTB
"For the country, Cayo is the number 2 destination for tourism and with that we realize that it's very important to marketing and to development. Therefore Belize tourism board definitely puts a lot of effort and emphasis on this region."
There is one more Destination launch planned for Caye Caulker on Next week Monday night.