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As construction projects under the Sustainable Tourism Program (STP) are rolling out around the country, the last on the list of STP investment projects was initiated on November 2, 2012, with contract signature for a tourism assessment and architectural designs for tourism infrastructure at Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve (BCNPMR).

The winning bid for the $210,300Bze contract was awarded to Belmopan based firm, Architecture and Project Management Limited headed by lead architect Mr. Alex Laasner who acquired qualification as a LEED Green Associate (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in October. Mr. Laasner is excited for this opportunity to “walk the talk” in terms of sustainable design and put the principles of “Green Design” into practice within this fragile ecosystem.

The STP is working closely with the management bodies for the area, the Fisheries and Forestry Departments, and will finance investments in visitor facilities as recommended by the tourism assessment to include overnight accommodations.

Investments At Bacalar Chico World Heritage Site

As BCNPMR falls under UNESCO World Heritage Status, the approach to construction of visitor amenities is to remodel the existing visitor site at San Juan. This upgrade of the facilities will be used as a central point for activities via terrestrial trails and water-based routes linking strategic tourism points of interest such as Laguna de Cantena, boat billed heron nesting sites, and the Maya Site of Chac Balam.

Not only will these facilities diversify the tourism product of San Pedro Town, but they will also serve to reduce pressures on existing attractions such as Hol Chan. The additional revenue generated from these tourism operations will also contribute significantly to the day-to-day park management activities as will a small ranger base planned south of Rocky Point and the provision of mooring buoys and marine signage.  

Contract signature for a Tourism Study, Architectural Designs and business plan for tourism facilities at Bacalar Chico: a collaborative effort between Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Belize Tourism Board, the STP, Fisheries Dept and Forestry Dept.

The STP is a US$15 tourism development program funded through GOB and the BTB with IDB loan assistance. For more information please contact the Sustainable Tourism Project Coordinating Unit at [email protected] or visit the STP website
www.sustainabletourismbz.org

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