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Belize Sustainable Tourism Project: The Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio

26 August 2011 3 Comments

cayo welcome center in belize

Since The Lodge at Chaa Creek always tries to participate and keep current with sustainable Community developments, yesterday Guest Services Manager Ben Awe and Marketing Representative Lorenzo Gonzalez attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Cayo Welcome Center which is a part of the Cayo Destination Management Plan, a subhead of the Belize Sustainable Tourism Project (STP). The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has initiated STP as way to grow Belize economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

The Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio commences the project by the creation of a new complex building which will be used as a welcoming hub for tourist whenever the visit the Cayo District area. The Welcome Center will be valued at roughly $2.8 million and will encompass approximately 2.55 acres of public land in the downtown area adjacent to the San Ignacio Farmers’ Market.

BTB's Seleni Matus, Hon Manuel Heredia, Miriam Roberson, Diane Haylock, Mayor Jon August

The ceremonies started off with a reception at the San Ignacio Hotel where they announced the winning contractor RJB Construction Ltd. from Belmopan City.  Among distinguished guests were industry and community leaders Minister of Tourism Hon Manuel Heredia, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Rene Montero, BTB Director Seleni Matus, BTB Chairlady Miriam Roberson, NICH President Diane Haylock, and Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena John August.

Following the reception everyone gathered at the onsite location to watch the unveiling of the master plan, receive community input and hear closing remarks by some of the distinguished guests. To conclude, Masters of Ceremonies Christy Mastry reminded attendees to stay updated with the other components of the Cayo Destination Management Plan which include the San Ignacio Urban Design Strategy and various Archaeological sites investments.

Cayo Welcome Center groundbreaking ceremonies, Hon Rene Montero, Hon Manuel Heredia & Mayor John August

Left to right, Hon Rene Montero, Hon Manuel Heredia & Mayor John August

The entire Belize Sustainable Tourism Project (STP) is being funded by the Government of Belize and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through a loan of US$13.322 million.


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  • Francisco Montero said:

    So glad this project has been given the go. It definitely signifies progress and will be of great positive impact to our town’s industry stakeholders and the industry nation-wide for that matter. Cayo is a prominent tourism destination in Belize and the moneys for this project could certainly be considered wisely invested ;)

  • Scott Ophof said:

    Good idea. NOT!
    - Suppliers will be able to reach the stores and restaurants sooo much more easily. NOT!
    - The parking lot waaay over there is going to be carefully patrolled against robbers. NOT!
    - The pitiful few trees are going to provide so much more shade than what we have now. NOT!
    - Tourists will just love losing what makes San Ignacio as wonderful as it is right now. NOT!

    To me myself it sounds more like a good recipe to scare the tourists away; too modern and cookie-cutter standard anywhere-in-the-world destination.

    Of course it all depends on what one defines/sees as ‘improvement’. Does that 2.8 million include maintenance for at least 20 years after completion?

  • Scott Ophof said:

    Let’s start out by admitting it’s a good idea to get as many facts and sides as one can before putting one’s foot in one’s mouth, as I did here.
    Understanding that one of the reasons for the project is to get more local cultural activity to take place here gives so much more depth to it. In other words, revive traditions of old!
    So scratch the ‘cookie-cutter anywhere-in-the-world’ gripe. Replace it with being able to enjoy listening to music played by local musicians, crafts shows by local artists, taking an evening stroll through the Plaza when in a romantic mood. Isn’t that what we really want? Being able to sit at the Amore Mio restaurant with a nice lime juice after a pasta dinner while listening to the music from the Plaza is my idea of enjoying life in the tropics, something I would very much like to see in San Ignacio. And have missed, actually!
    Please stay tuned for more removing of feet from my big mouth!

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