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Jan 8, 2015

…But Why Is Business Slowing Down?

Conway Young

But the CBS relies primarily on the tourism aspect of the sanctuary. The sanctuary offers six different tours including the nature walk, a river canoe tour that is contracted to a landowner and birding tours. The tours being the primary source of economic development in the area is under threat, however, by an investor that has been taking a huge slice of the pie. According to Young, the sanctuary brings in about sixty thousand dollars annually from tourism, but that amount has been declining for three years now.

 

Conway Young, Volunteer Administration Officer, Community Baboon Sanctuary

“It’s been reduced over the last couple of years. I’m not sure if you guys noticed while you were coming in about half a mile back…there is a whole bunch of signs. A lot of people over the last three years or so have been misled because they think that because the sign says you are here, Howler Monkey tours and a whole lotta things, people are thinking that that is the sanctuary and they actually stop there and do the tour. But because the guide was trained, used to work with us, and then he started his own business, all the tour and the stuff that he gives is the same information that the sanctuary would give. So people are convinced that that is the actual sanctuary…until they would send back and email to inquire about coming back again or they post something on trip advisor, but when they say “Rasta” or “Shane” then we know that it is not us.”

 

Duane Moody

“What are you guys doing to deal with this issue…one because it is taking revenue from the sanctuary, from the community and also in an effort to protect your intellectual property? You’ve spent over three decades to put the word out there about what you guys provide and the security for this protected area?”

 

Conway Young

“Well we’ve met with the individual a number of times over the years and we try to talk to him. we are not against people opening their own business. In fact the sanctuary wants to develop new tours in every village so each village would get its fair share of tourism. But we’ve asked him to create his own identity and not sort of use the CBS identity, which is going on. Because it is baboon tour…if you look at the taxi people who go there, they are saying the Baboon Sanctuary Tour, but they are not coming to actual sanctuary. He is located within the sanctuary, but he is not a part or associated with the sanctuary.”

 

Seven villages across eighteen square miles of the Belize River Valley make up the Sanctuary: Big Falls, St. Paul’s Bank, Willow’s Bank, Double Head Cabbage, Bermudian Landing, Isabella Bank and Flower’s Bank.

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