A ground breaking ceremony was held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, to officially mark the start of construction of the new Caye Caulker Craft Market.
During the short ceremony, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, said “the project comes at a very opportune time. Caye Caulker, also known affectionately as La Isla Cariñosa, received approximately 143,539 tourism visits in 2017 and 178,133 visits in 2018. Its hotel occupancy increased by 2% in 2018. It is further complimented with 127 hotels and a room stock of 909 rooms in 2018. San Pedro, on the other hand, continues to be our leading visitors’ destination claiming about 41.6% percent of overnight tourism visits to the country in 2018. Not surprisingly, many of these visitors to San Pedro also visit Caye Caulker to enjoy its myriad of attractions and activities.”
“This trend is very promising as tourism continues to register an impressive and persistent growth in both overnight and cruise ship arrivals. Construction of this craft market, besides generating much needed jobs in the island, is also aligned with Belize’s strategic plan to develop our tourism destinations and enhance the Belize Tourism product for the enjoyment of both visitors and Belizeans alike,” Hon. Manuel Heredia affirmed.
The craft market will be constructed in the Palapa Garden Area. It will be financed by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) as part of its ongoing efforts to develop and promote the cultural tourism product and increasing guest experience, satisfaction and visitor spending.
The Caye Caulker Craft Market project entails construction of five buildings that will accommodate four booths each for a total of 20 booths; each containing approximately 80 square feet. These buildings will be hurricane proof secured with wooden storm windows and doors. The exterior walls will use natural wood to ensure security and consistency with the island’s theme. The interior walls will be built with sheet rock and accommodate sufficient and suitable shelving and hanging space. The project will also include signage, display shelves, solar lighting, garbage bins among other features. The craft market will be managed by the Caye Caulker Village Council and will benefit some 11 main craft artisans.
The contract for the project was awarded to Noe Design and Construction, a contractor from Caye Caulker with over 28 years’ experience in the construction business.
The craft market project will provide a comfortable environment for artisans and further stimulate and support tourism in Caye Caulker, particularly since la Isla Cariñosa is the second most visited destination in Belize.
The BTB is committed to collaborate with partners and stakeholders in executing innovative strategies to market, develop and enhance the Belize Tourism product. It is also pleased to have been granted the opportunity to bring meaningful and lasting development to Caye Caulker via the new craft market project.