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Project's Relevance

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Ecotourism Project's Relevance

Uaxactun has long been considered a village with high ecotourism potential. Prior efforts to develop tourism in Uaxactun had failed to consider the need for advertizing, and most remarkably, failed to tap into the 150,000 visitors the Tikal National Park receives each year.

Uaxactun is located only 23 kilometers from Tikal and is easily accessed by an all-weather road. Uaxactun also contains one of only three excavated and restored Maya ruin complexes in the entire Maya Bisophere Reserve. This complex is unique for its astronomical observatory (Structure E-VII sub) and for its proximity to the forest and the village.

The Guatemalan Tourism Board (INGUAT) is currently developing facilities for tourists in Uaxactun in the form of restrooms. New interpretive signs are being added in the ruin complexes. As of now, some 1,000 tourists reach Uaxactun every year, but until recently most had not left any monetary benefits within the community. Traditional tourism operators bring in their own food and beverages, dash through the ruins and see Uaxactun only through their buses' windows...  attempting to capture all the benefits for themselves. Nevertheless, ecotourism was recently reported to have grown by 10% in the PetÚn this past year, in part due to the recent Peace Accords that ended 36 years of civil war.

Ecotourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, rising at a rate of 30% a year. Uaxactun is positioned between Tikal and the great northern Maya Biosphere Reserve Maya ruins of El Mirador, Nakbe, Naachtun and Rio Azul, making it the best point of departure for ecoadventures into those areas. This project will help bring Uaxactun villagers more direct benefits from this potentially huge industry.


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