EU $2.75 million grant helps Mayan sites benefit villagers

euThe Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of Culture and History this week launched a $4 million Belize Rural Development Project  at the House of Culture in Belize City. 

With a view to making tourism benefit communities adjacent to archaeological sites, the European Union  gave Belize  a grant of $2.75 million  for the project last November.

On Wednesday the EU’s representative to Belize, Ambassador Paola Amadei, signed the grant agreement along with Belize’s Ministers of Tourism  Manuel Heredia Jr.

The project will seek to improve economic opportunities in tourism for  people who live in villages near to  the ten  Mayan sites at Xunantunich, Barton Creek, Actún, Tunichil Muknal, Caves Branch, Altun Ha, Lamanai, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and Blue Creek.

The project  aims at reducing the poverty in these communities by involving the village population  in  the overall tourism experience.

The project will improve tourism infrastructure and the services offered.

New health and safety measures will be introduced and  associated infrastructure will be improved.

Villagers will also receive training in health and safety. habits.

The project also seeks to improve the quality of  the locally made souvenirs which is offered to the tourists visiting these places.

A special co-ordinating team has been appointed to plan and oversee the involvement of  the rural communities so that they can derive some benefits from the tourists who visit these places.

Members of the Project Coordinating Team are Patrick Tillett, Geraldo Flores, and Ian Morrison.

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