National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan Kicks Off
A Kick-Off stakeholder workshop was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Friday April 23, 2010 to conclude "Phase 0" within the development of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.
The workshop ended a four day tour of destinations within Belize by "Tourism and Leisure" consultants Juan Manuel Ribera (Team Leader) and Gustavo Bassotti (Project Coordinator, Sustainable Tourism Development Specialist).
Recognizing the cross-sectoral nature of the tourism industry, representatives from the private sector, multiple Government Departments, and NGOs were introduced to the mission and objectives of the project, and invited to share first-hand knowledge of the current status of the Belize tourism industry. Valuable input was provided by the stakeholders through an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, including identification of Belize’s assets and destinations for future tourism development.
Without a clear plan Mr. Bassotti stressed that Belize would experience higher negative environmental and social impacts from tourism, would not enjoy the maximum potential economic benefits, and the industry would suffer from a lack of leadership. He noted the importance of ensuring that tourism activities benefit the local residents to assure sustainability.
Following this preliminary insight into the tourism offering, for the next two months firm "Tourism and Leisure" will implement the first phase of the project involving data collection and analysis in the areas of tourism demand, supply, competitors, governance and best practice. A larger team, including a policy expert, economist and tourism physical planner will be in-country in early May to carry out interviews, surveys and destination visits throughout the country along with local counterparts. It is envisaged that the final draft of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan will be completed by the end of the year, prior to the finalization of more detailed plans for San Ignacio, Belize City, Placencia Peninsula and Ambergris Caye.
The development of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan is a component under the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP). Funding for the US$15million Sustainable Tourism Program is provided by the Government of Belize through an IDB loan, the Belize Tourism Board, and the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture. For more information about the program please contact the Project Co-ordinating Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the STP website www.sustainabletourismbz.org
Source: Belize Media Center