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Sep 29, 2004

Community groups encouraged in tourism

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Belize has joined three other countries, namely Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Brazil in an effort aimed at giving small community groups a chance to co-exist with the larger, better financed interests in the tourism industry. According to officials of the local partner, Programme for Belize, the idea is to show people, particularly those in rural communities, how to use what they have in their immediate surroundings to their economic benefit, while at the same time ensuring that future generations will be able to build on those efforts. National Coordinator of the programme, Anselmo Castenada, says it’s a forward-thinking approach to tourism.

Anselmo Casteneda, Nat?l Coord., Sustainable Tourism Certification Programme

?This project works at three levels basically. At the national level we are going to be giving technical assistance. We are going to be giving capacity building and also training people how to be certified and eventually, around year three or four, we are going to be marketing at least twenty Belizean small and medium enterprises that are involved in nature-based tourism.?

Denya Delvalle, Mesoamerican coordinator, Rainforest Alliance

?We are now in Belize starting with the training of trainers programme with the certification and best management programme that we are running with our local partner Programme for Belize, and we have twenty-one participants from all over the country. They are receiving some techniques on adult education and also on best management practice and certification. That?s the objective of this first workshop that we are running again with Programme for Belize.?

The best practices and certification in sustainable tourism programme is a five million US dollar project, with the Inter American Development Bank providing three million. The remaining two million is raised by the participating countries.

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