Mobile Equipment handed over in Belmopan Print E-mail
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Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:00

Mobile equipment (inset) Ian Morrison hands over equipment to Diane Haylock and Laura Esquivel Frampton In a brief ceremony on Monday of this week a set of mobile tools were handed over at the Institute of Archaeology Grounds on Culvert Road in Belmopan. While the costs for the tools and equipment component that will enhance the Institute of Archaeology to carry out its work, figures just ,000.00, this is part of a larger project to make tourism benefit communities adjacent to some nine archaeological sites across Belize.

Present for the occasion was both Dianne Haylock, the President of the National Institute of Culture and History NICH as well as Laura Esquivel Frampton, the Director of the Belize Tourism Board BTB. Dianne Haylock for her part expressed being grateful for the equipment received and assured the European Union that the new equipment will be put to good use. (These equipment included generators, welding equipment, chain saws and others.) Laura Esquivel Frampton also joined in expressing that there exists a good partnership with the European Union. She stated that there was an effort to make tourism a sustainable industry; that will impact the lives of those persons near archaeological sites. At the same time, said Frampton, partnerships were being built with sister agencies to build capacity and assure tourists coming to Belize that, “...we have a safe product when they visit.”

Indeed; those partnerships forged comes from a 2.75 million dollar donation from the European Union with counterpart funding of 1.25 million from the Government of Belize; with both the Belize Tourism Board and the National Institute of culture sharing some $633,000.00 each from these sources.

All the efforts being invested during the past six months is related to a 24 month project entitled, Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites MTBCAAS. These notable sites that will stand to benefit include Altun Ha in the Belize District; Lamanai in the Orange Walk District and Nim Li Punit, Blue Creek and Lubaantun in the Toledo District. Also to benefit from this Project will be Actun Tunichil Muknal, Barton Creek, the Nohoch Che’en (Cave’s Branch) and Xunantunich from the Cayo District.

One of the main results of the MTBCAAS is to increase visitor satisfaction and as a result a visitor satisfaction survey will be conducted. A second deliverable is to improve the health and safety of these nine archaeological sites and this will be done via the implementation of a legislated health and safety standard.

Additionally several works will be done at the various sites under the MTBCAAS Project. These include the completion of a visitor center at Altun Ha, construction of a dock at Lamanai and the installation of a deck and stairs at Cave’s Branch. There will also be improvements of trails, the installation of rails and ramps and new signage for people with diverse abilities. The Institute of Archeology will be providing the labor and materials for the implementation of the activities at the archaeological sites.

The project team at MTBCAAS, headed by Ian Morrison, will be advertising over the next two to three months in relation to the health and safety training and the specific site guide training that will be ongoing for the duration of the well received joint Project. It is hoped that from these activities there will be a reduction of poverty and the creation of employment opportunities.

For more information contact can be made with the ‘Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites’ team at 223-1781 or by visiting them at their address on the second floor at number 56 Regent Street in Belize City.