Project title: Boosting EcoTourism Belize to support sustainable conservation in the Maya Golden Landscape of Southern Belize
About the project
EcoTourism Belize (ETB) aims to protect forests and wildlife while supporting sustainable livelihoods of communities located in southern Belize through safe, fun and authentic experiences for all visitors. As the social business initiative of Ya’axché Conservation Trust, ETB reinvests all profits in Ya’axché’s conservation and sustainable development work within the MGL communities and surrounding protected areas.
ETB partnered with the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) to implement a small technical grant entitled: Boosting EcoTourism Belize to support sustainable conservation in the Maya Golden Landscape of southern Belize. The project focuses on strengthening natural ecotourism offerings within Ya’axché’s private protected area of Golden Stream Corridor Preserve (GSCP) and cultural experiences in the nearby buffer communities. This is a ten month project, from October 2020 to July 2021, and is financed by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
The project main objectives are:
- To improve protected area management through the bolstering of Ecotourism Belize’s sustainability and impact through investment in equipment and infrastructure
- To share local indigenous culture and support Golden Stream Corridor Preserve buffer communities through innovative ecotourism initiatives
Through investments in ETB infrastructure and ecotour equipment and capacity building for the local women’s groups as cultural tourism operators will assist ETB in establishing consistent and environmentally responsible tourism programs. The project will also empower local indigenous women and communities while contributing to effective biodiversity conservation of GSCP. This will also allow ETB to emerge post-COVID-19 in a strong position to generate consistent income for Ya’axché’s conservation and development initiatives across the MGL.
On the ground accomplishments
Improvements to ETB visitor grounds in GSCP
- Construction of a new restroom facility
- Repainting of current bunkhouse, as well as the construction of a new screened veranda and installation of new ceiling fans, bed linens and furnishings
- Two tents purchased to provide camping opportunities
- Installation of directional signs to indicate visitor facilities
Images show improved showers and toilets: Our new male and female restrooms are now installed and functional for our guests. There are now flushing toilets , hand washing basins, mirrors and toiletries.
Images show ETB improved bunkhouse: Our improved bunkhouse now has ceiling fans, a fire alarm system, First Aid and COVID-19 kits, two new private rooms, a quarantine room, protective screening and a spacious veranda.
Pending accomplishment is the purchase of new bed mattresses, pillows and linens.
ETB Trails and Tours
- Tour van purchased to provide convenient transportation from guest accommodations to tour sites
- Self-guiding nature trails available to visitors in GSCP will be demarcated and receive trail maps and overall directional signage
- Equipment including kayaks, canoe paddles and binoculars will be purchased to strengthen ecotour facilitation
Images show ETB Guest van with COVID-19 measures.
ETB Tours improvements
Images show installed signages at ETB grounds and trails: For our guests to have better guidance at our facilities, signs are installed at our bunkhouse, camping grounds, restrooms and showers, dining room and at our nature trails. The nature trails include a main entrance map sign and xx signs, each for our trails.
Tour Equipment: Pending to purchase in period 2 of the project. Communication and procurement process is ongoing.
Community Partners (Pending)
- Hospitality and customer service capacity building provided for local indigenous women’s groups who partner with ETB to provide cultural tours and experiences.