With Belize now open to leisure tourism amid great optimism for a gradual increase in visitors in the upcoming high season, essential infrastructure is now in place to allow Caye Caulker Village artisans to serve their customers in a pleasant environment. On Friday, October 30, 2020, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, officially handed over the brand new Caye Caulker Craft Market to Seleny Villanueva-Pott, Chairlady of Caye Caulker Village.
“The Craft Market is aligned with Belize’s strategic plan to continuously enhance our tourism offerings for the enjoyment of both visitors and Belizeans alike,” Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. said. He added, “Besides providing a comfortable environment for Belizean artisans, the craft market will further stimulate and support tourism in Caye Caulker, the second most visited destination in Belize after San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.”
The Craft Market was constructed in the Palapa Garden Area and financed by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) as part of its ongoing efforts to develop and promote the cultural tourism product and increase guest satisfaction and visitor spending. It will be managed by the Caye Caulker Village Council.
The project entailed construction of five buildings that accommodate six double booths and eight single booths. These buildings are hurricane-proof with wooden storm windows and doors and the exterior walls are constructed from natural wood in order to remain consistent with the island’s theme. The project comprises signage, display shelves, solar lighting, garbage bins among other features. Additionally, the design includes art on the exterior of the booths to attract visitors to take pictures and to visit, as well as picnic tables that will provide opportunities to develop art making programs. Prior to the construction of the market, the artisans sold their products in makeshift stalls in the center of the island and along the beach.
Caye Caulker, also known as La Isla Cariñosa, is a sleepy, 5-mile long island located approximately 21 miles northeast of Belize City and directly south of Ambergris Caye. Like Ambergris Caye, the island sits just one mile west of the Belize Barrier Reef, offering easy access to the area’s best snorkeling and scuba activities. Caye Caulker received approximately 87,277 tourism visits in 2019.
Construction of the Caye Caulker Craft Market is emblematic of BTB’s commitment to collaborate with partners and stakeholders in executing innovative strategies to market, develop and enhance Belize’s tourism product. The BTB is grateful to have been granted the opportunity to bring meaningful and lasting development to Caye Caulker via the new craft market project.