Health and Safety Standards For Xunantunich

A ceremony highlighting the signing of health and safety standards at the Xunantunich Archaeological Site in the Cayo District took place on the grounds of the Mayan ruin on Thursday. The document outlining the health and safety standards to be adopted and implemented by the Institute of Archaeology was drafted as part of the project dubbed, Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites. According the George Thompson, the Associate Director of Parks Management, the adaptation of these health and safety regulations seeks to improve the tourism experience in Belize.

GEORGE THOMPSON, Associate Director, Parks Management

“Today marks a special day as we take one more significant step in improving the quality of service at our archaeological and tourism destinations. It brings me great pleasure to see us taking significant steps towards our mission which first and foremost is protection and preservation. It is only by ensuring that these communities feel that they are a part of what we’re doing and what we’re managing that they will ultimately have the buy-in that is necessary to move protection and preservation to another level. Today we seek not only to have exceptionally beautiful well managed archaeological parks, as is evident here at Xunantunich; it is really a beautiful environment. What we are seeking to do is to move to another level where we seek to manage visitor experience. The people who come to our parks, it is to see a beautiful environment, beautiful excavations, well documented archaeological site, proper research taking place but at the same time to move to another level where we manage our experience . From this point onward as was rightly mentioned, the Institute of Archaeology will be the key organization that will move forward in the implementation of these standards whether it is in the areas of trail ramps, sanitary facilities, emergency preparedness and boats or our gas for in times of natural disasters; those are the things that we will be charged with. As was mentioned, we have 90 rangers; we need to improve the capacity of our staff to implement these standards and also the capacity of the staff to ensure that we provide the proper oversight when it comes to dealing with and adopting these standards. We look forward to more collaboration with our industry partners. These standards are by no means written in stone and it will take the necessary periodic monitoring and evaluation of these standards to see what is working, to see where adjustments can be made and it is through this evaluation that we will ultimately seek to improve our tourism destination and by extension, all the other things will fall in place, whether it’s for the national economy for our country, the tourism industry, adjacent communities and we look forward to ensuring that we at the Institute of Archaeology, the National Institute of Culture and History remain at the forefront of the continued development of our archaeological and cultural sites.”

The project is being carried as a component of the Belize Rural Development Programme II and is being funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize.