Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites

The European Union is providing funding for a project that should benefit communities like Rockstone Pond and San Jose Succotz.

It's called the Belize Rural Development Project 2, and it is called, "Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites." That kind of says it all, and Director of Tourism Laura Esquivel explained how they will do it.

Laura Esquivel-Frampton - Director of Tourism
"We need to ensure that whatever we do for tourism, we're trying to do it in a sustainable manner. And so sustainability, as we say isn't only taking care of the environment, it's also taking care of the socio-economic impacts of tourism, and ensuring the people who are adjoining these great tourism sites, also have an opportunity to benefit from the tourism product. What we're doing is ensuring that because our tour guide course, as it stands right now is very knowledge heavy, you do need to have at least a high school back ground in order to get through our tour guide course. So part of this project is to create a community tour guide course, which will seek to address those communities that are neighboring these tourism destinations. So this will build the frame work, yes, for those persons who are near the archeological sites, but this frame work can also be use for other communities as well. And that way we are actively, and legally engaging those communities in being able to showcase their products."

The project is in the form of a four million dollar grant. It is being divided between different agencies and the BTB will get 2.75 million dollars. The project will focus on archaeological sites of Xunantunich, Barton Creek, the ATM Caves Branch, Altun Ha, Lamanai, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and Blue Creek.

Channel 7