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Jun 20, 2016

New Revenue Sought for Protected Areas Management

Colin Young

The third area being funded is anything related to protected areas management, including assistance to co-managers to meet the requirements of their co-management agreement and protected areas management plan. So where will PACT get the money to feed its newly expanded role and more hands-on management approach? Young explained today that in a recent financial sustainability study it was found that only one or two protected areas generated enough funds to cover, barely, infrastructure and management. The road ahead, then, will be a rocky one, with some revenue generation at least expected from new provisions in the amended PACT Act.

 

Colin Young, Chairman, PACT Board of Directors

“In 2010 and these are the last figures we have and that I know so I’ll share it – in 2010 tourists that came to Belize spent two hundred and fifty million US dollars. That’s five hundred million Belize dollars. When we looked at what those tourists spent visiting a protected area it was two point eight million dollars, or five point six million Belize dollars. In other words, tourists spent five hundred million dollars in the Belizean economy, but contributed only five point six million to the protected areas themselves. That’s one point one two percent. Even if we were to assume that sixty percent of all the tourists who came to Belize went to a protected area, that’s still one hundred and fifty million dollars. That’s one point eight percent. In other words, we wouldn’t get that number of tourists coming to Belize if we didn’t have the kinds of attractions that we have, and so the financial sustainable strategy was also looking at other fees in which we can generate more income from the users of protected areas. Now the PACT Amendment Act also calls for the payment of twenty percent of concession fees in protected areas to go into the PACT fund. So you can imagine where if a forest concession is given and that concession is in a protected area like a forest reserve, then twenty percent of the value of that should be paid into the PACT. The same goes for all recreational fees in protected areas. So if you have a zipline that happens in a protected area, according to the PACT Act twenty percent of those fees should go to PACT.”

 

The Board is also examining the possibility of increasing departure fees, but the thrust is to generate monies from areas not so closely tied, for better or worse, to tourism. 

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