A one-year project began in June 2014 as a collaborative programme between COMPACT (Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation) and the Toledo Tour Guide Association. The project is snappily titled "Building the Capacity of Local Tour Guides for Responsible Tourism in Punta Gorda, a Coastal Community of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site." It aims to strengthen the capacity of the Toledo Tour Guide Association to promote responsible tourism practices among its members who utilize the marine resources for their livelihoods. This project builds on the success of previous projects funded with the main objective of providing an environment for the development of sustainable, environmentally-aware tourism in Punta Gorda and building tourism products in which community members can be employed in tourism as an alternative to traditional fishing. The project is based on the thematic area of sustainable livelihoods. The project will empower local tour guides who need continuous training and support. The project supports the following objectives of the COMPACT Thematic: (1) Improving sustainable livelihood practices, including reducing poverty among vulnerable populations; and (2) Civil society Empowerment, including expanding stakeholder networks, establishing partnerships and building capacities. The TTGA recognizes the importance of supporting training capacities for its Members who utilize the marine resources and as well as terrestrial resources for their livelihoods as both are intricately linked.
The results of this intervention will be evident in the increased of incomes of local tour guides through collective building: Strengthening of safety skills of local tour guides (CPR/ First Aid and White Water Rescue): Institutional strengthening of the TTGA through self- financing mechanisms, including rental equipment; promotion and development of tourist attractions, enhanced relationships and networking among certified guides; Improved Marketing of local tour guides and the natural and cultural attractions.