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.