Helping communities near archaeological sites better market their product

The Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites Project has a long name but an important role. On Thursday night at the House of Culture it moved into another phase of its 2 year plan to help artisans and others who make a living from tourism better market their product. Policy Coordinator in charge of the project Geraldo Flowers tells us more.

Geraldo Flowers – Policy Coordinator:

vlcsnap-2013-08-19-11h13m16s166The project has three main results.  The first result is developing a visitor satisfaction survey that would monitor, on a consistent basis, visitor satisfaction with our archaeological sites.  Result Two has two parts.  The first part has to do with developing health and safety standards for our archaeological sites, so that when tourists and visitors come to those sites, they can feel safe, and they can have the best possible experience that they can have.  The second part of Result Two is developing and enhancing the infrastructure at those sites, the Visitors Centre, bathroom facilities, the trails, and the parking areas. Then Result Three has to do with developing locally made, Belizean made, arts and crafts that can be sold at these sites, as well as can be sold regionally and around the world. 

According to Geraldo Flowers, our population has no shortage of creativity; they need an outlet in which to express it.

Geraldo Flowers – Policy Coordinator:

vlcsnap-2013-08-19-11h22m15s197I think that Belizean in these communities are some of the most wonderful artists around the world.  You can ask any visitor to our sites, if they buy a genuine Belizean-made product, if they’re not satisfied with the product, and invariably they will say ‘Yes’.  What we need to do is to encourage and work with our artisans, to be able to market their products more variable nationally, internationally, and regionally, so that they can get more value for their money.  One of the things that we have found that prompted this project was that we found that the amount of monies that was spent by visitors in Belize was less than what is spent in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Part of it has to do with marketing the wonderful products that are being sold in Belize, and that’s what we intend to train our artists,  and develop distribution channels to be able to do it.

The project is budgeted for 4 million dollars, 2/3 of which comes from the European Union and the remainder from Central Government.

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