New ATV will assist with safety and rescue efforts at cave sites

UNBTBNICH

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The Government of Belize has received counterpart funding from the European Union through the Belize Rural Development Program 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.  Here’s more details of the project.

Ian Morrison – BTB Project Coordinator:

vlcsnap-2013-09-02-12h47m41s25The main aim and objective of this project is for the reduction of poverty, poverty alleviation, and employment opportunity in the rural communities of the country of Belize.  Secondly it is to enhance the visitor experience, as we move into a new area, and the country targeted with the increased visitation to these archaeological sites. 

 

Abel Castenada – Chief Tourism Officer:

vlcsnap-2013-09-02-13h41m02s28To me it really looks at enhancing the visitor experience, but from various perspectives.  We look at enhancing the visitor experience for the tourists by providing improved facilities, by providing improved services and health and safety standards.  But we also improve the visitor experience in the perspective of those who actually give the experience, that provide the experiences, service providers, and also those who are responsible for managing the areas in which the experience actually happens.  I think that is special.  Health and safety is a major concern of the project.   

As part of the tourism aspect of the project, the Institute of Archaeology was presented an all terrain ATV, along with two safety helmets.

Ian Morrison – BTB Project Coordinator:

vlcsnap-2013-09-02-13h02m24s153We’re here today for the handing over of this ATV, that will be a major contribution to the Health and Safety, especially at the cave sites that we have at the moment.  It will be based at the Caves Branch, where we have the highest visitation.  It will be used initially for the monitoring of the infrastructure works throughout the caves sites, and wherever we think that it’s necessary, but mainly at Caves Branch.  Also, more importantly, it will assist in the rescue efforts at these sites, monitoring and rescue efforts at these sites should the needs arise. In addition to the ATV, we had made some adjustments, because we know that the terrain it’s working on will be rugged and difficult, so we have also added a 3,500 power winch to the front, with a 50 foot rope that would assist in the event that the drivers get into any difficulty.  There’s a facility in the back that they can hitch a trailer, that if they need to move any injured person out of these areas, they can do so with minimal further damage or injury to that person. 

Valdemar Andrade, Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives at the Ministry of Tourism, further shared on the correlation between safety and standards and the ultimate tourism experience.

Valdemar Andrade – Director of Cruise and Regional Initiatives:


vlcsnap-2013-09-02-13h07m37s200vlcsnap-2013-09-02-13h18m46s184Safety and standards for archeological sites are very important, because it creates inevitably the best  visitor experience that you can have.  Us putting in infrastructure for visitors, and that does not just mean foreign tourists, it also means Belizean visitors that come, to ensure that they have safety and some kind of standards that will be upheld within these [sites].  In the event that there is any misfortune, or there are any untimely accidents, we do have something that we can respond in a timely fashion that is adequate.  Belize has very rugged terrain that we have to do work in.  That comes at a high cost to any of our institutions.  Having the proper equipment ensures that we can minimize any liability, at the end of the day.

vlcsnap-2013-09-02-12h46m19s224The ceremony’s thank you remarks were conducted by President of NICH Dianne Haylock.

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