By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
A new Health and Safety Standards Policy will now regulate activities at archaeological sites across the country and a sensitization campaign will be launched to familiarize stakeholders with the new regulations.
The official manual was handed over to the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the National Institute of Culture and Heritage (NICH) at the Institute of Archaeology in Belmopan on Tuesday.
The aim of the policy is to improve monitoring systems at each site, improve health and safety provisions as well as site-infrastructure and to enhance diversification of the community-based tourism products and services offered.
The policy was developed as part of the Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS) Project and is expected to have a positive effect on communities surrounding Xunantunich, Barton Creek, Actun, Tunichil Muknal, Caves’ Branch, Altun Ha, Lamanai, Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue Creek.
The creation of the policy was meant to ensure the highest standards of health and safety practices so that visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience.
The BTB and NICH will now be engaging in a sensitization process with park rangers, tour guides and tour operators as well as other relevant stakeholders to educate them on the details of the new policy before the next tourist season.
The MTBCAAS Project was launched in March 2013 and is funded by the European Union and the Government of Belize under the Belize Rural Development Program as well as the BTB and NICH for a total estimated cost of $4million. The project is being implemented over a 24-month period and is scheduled to be completed in November 2014.