May 22nd concluded the Fifth Toledo Cacao Festival, a responsible tourism event created to raise awareness of Toledo’s market district, by way of promotion and development of an attractive and sustainable tourism product. How can one not suppert the raw material source of something as glorious as chocolate? Annually this even draws together many stakeholders, including cacao farmers, processors, brands, artisans and enviornmental groups. As stated upon it’s website, the Toledo Cacao Festival Committee’s aims and objectives are:
- To organise an annual community CacaoFest, designed to raise awareness of the Toledo District through the development and promotion of a sustainable tourism product
- To increase the number of visitors to the Toledo District to the benefit of the entire community through the ‘ripple effect’
- To work with other stakeholders in the Toledo District with similar and comparable interests, including the Toledo Cacao Growers Association, and the BTIA Toledo Chapter in supporting the BTIA’s goals of promoting sustainable tourism while maintaining the natural and cultural integrity of Belize.
- To provide a fair and transparent process for businesses to tender for all elements of the Festival which are sub-contracted.
- To assist those local businesses identified as a result of the tender process through the provision of mentoring and training, as necessary, to improve the professionalism and quality of the product.
- To improve the infrastructure and appearance of the area.
- To do all such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of any of the above objectives