Sustainable Tourism Certification Program (STCP)

Belize National Certification Program

What is STCP?

The sustainable Tourism Certification Program was a Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) for the development of harmonized best management practices, baseline certification and international accreditation standards for ecotourism in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Goal: to increase the competitiveness and market access of sustainable tourism small and medium enterprises (SME) participating in the internationally accreditable certification systems in the region.

Objective: to develop, improve and harmonize best management practices (BMP) that will lead to the definition and implementation of internationally recognized and harmonized baseline standards along with development of a cohesive marketing strategy for certification programs ands certifies tourism operations.

To achieve these goals and objectives the project was implemented at the national, regional and international level with components and activities that were parallel and interrelated to one another.

Scope of STCP

The program focused on sustainable tourism, which goes beyond interpretations of ecotourism as environmental or nature travel to embrace practices that are socially, economically and environmentally viable in the long term. Programme for Belize worked closely with other local tourism affiliates towards project implementation which entailed:

  • Development of Baseline Standards
  • Harmonization of existing BMPs
  • Development of BMP Guidelines through seminars and workshops
  • Train the Trainer sessions on BMP, certification and marketing
  • Assistance in the implementation of BMPs
  • Performance of diagnostic visits to measure compliance with baseline standards
  • Engaging of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) & Indigenous and Community Based Operations (CBOs) in certification processes

All these activities were complemented with the promotion of participating Tourism Operations in the certification process.

Best Management Practices Guide

The production of a ‘Guide to Best Management Practices for Sustainable Tourism’ was an important part of the project’s efforts to get tourism operations to improve their relationships with the environment and communities. By explaining Best Practices in a systematic way, the guide acts both as a stimulus for positive change and a tool for solving specific improvements that owners and managers can make in such important areas as:

  • Design & construction of facilities
  • Recycling & solid waste management
  • Private protected areas
  • Waste water treatment
  • Gardens and green areas
  • Communicating with guests
  • Reducing water and electricity consumption
  • Benefiting local communities and cultures

This useful and insightful manual is the perfect tool to help tourism operations become more efficient, improve their relationships with their natural surroundings and neighbors, and do a better job of attracting clients.

Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Tourism through the Development and Dissemination of Best Practices

Programme for Belize recently concluded it’s second of two best management practices project that it was implementing in conjunction with the Rain Forest Alliance of Costa Rica.  This second project was titled, ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Tourism through the Development and Dissemination of Best Practices.’  This second project began in 2006 and was completed in March 2008 and was a success for the country and the Tourism Sector in Belize. The first project began in 2003 and was completed in 2007 and was a similar successful project.

The goals and objectives of this project included developing ecosystem specific best practices; developing a business to business tool for wholesale purchasers; awareness building; technical assistance and best practice implementation; facilitation of demand and supply side dialogue; establishing a best practice implementation program; training trainers and disseminating impacts and lessons learned.

Over the two year period, Programme for Belize through the project which was implemented nationally completed the following activities.  A baseline analysis of the tourism impact in the Mountain Pine Ridge and Chiquibul forest was completed.  Numerous presentations were given at workshops and seminars held countrywide to build awareness of the project and its goals.  Several Train the Trainers workshops and seminars were held over the two year period.  A Certification Workshop and a Marketing Workshop were also held specifically for tourism entrepreneurs in the country.  The Belize Hotel Association (BHA) was selected as the host organization for the Best Practice Implementation Programme and is now working with Rainforest Alliance to set up the mechanisms for its implementation as a follow up to the project work.

Programme for Belize applauds all those who participated and took the time to become a part of the project and its activities and to benefit from the tremendous wealth of data that was funneled through the projects and its various sessions.  We also thank all those staff members and other supporters who actively worked to ensure that the project was completed accordingly.  And we extend our thanks to the Global Environment Fund (GEF)/United Nations Environment Fund (UNEP) and Rain Forest Alliance (RA) of Costa Rica for providing the funding to accomplish the goals set out in the project.


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