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#512881 - 04/06/16 05:26 AM Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile
Marty Offline
Despite the mayor’s ban on their importation, it appears golf carts are still being brought into San Pedro, Belize.

The small resort town’s golf cart cache was discovered this week by vigilant reporters from the San Pedro Sun, the local newspaper, who posted an article detailing the “containers full of carts” arriving at the local pier.

The carts arrived despite earlier promises from Daniel Guerrero, San Pedro’s mayor, that golf cart rental companies would be barred from increasing their fleets.

Admittedly golf carts aren’t often found beyond resort properties and, of course, golf courses in most Caribbean destinations. But in San Pedro, an increasingly popular coastal town treasured for its narrow downtown streets, the golf cart is the primary mode of motorized transportation.

Moreover the mayor’s ban was prompted by a full-blown, golf cart-driven transportation crisis resulting in “constant complaints, letters from disgruntled visitors [and] residents’ vocal opposition following overwhelming traffic," the Sun reports.

Effective April 1, San Pedro has launched a moratorium on the importation of golf carts, Guerrero told the Sun. The mayor did admit “a few additional golf carts” made it to the island in the past few weeks, but said “The only additional golf carts you might see coming to the island is because these places have permits to bring over a certain amount of carts and they have not brought in all of them.”

Located on Belize’s Ambergris Caye, San Pedro is a town of 12,400 residents with footprint-perfect, white-sand beaches and a lively downtown district highlighted by Front Street, which is lined with restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and souvenir stands.

Belize’s barrier reef extends for more than two miles along San Pedro, and the town’s beach is lined with dive shops, excursion boats, open-air bars and restaurants, and water taxi stations. San Pedro is very popular with dive and snorkeling enthusiasts.

In some ways the golf cart dilemma highlights Belize’s ongoing transition from a sleepy nation dependent on oil and agricultural industries to a major Caribbean tourist destination. Belize hosted 341,124 visitor arrivals in 2015, a 6.2 percent increase over 2014. The country’s visitor arrivals have increased 35.3 percent since 2003 according to Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) statistics.

Belize is also a fast-growing cruise destination, hosting 957,975 cruise ship arrivals in 2015, eighth among Caribbean destinations tracked by CTO.

Last month Norwegian Cruise Line issued details on Harvest Caye, a $100 million private island development in Belize. Scheduled to open in November and located on two adjoining islands off shore from Placencia, a small fishing village, the development will include Belize’s first cruise ship pier, a marina facility for mainland excursions, a seven-acre beach, restaurants and eco-tourism and adventure activity centers.

Harvest Caye will be a port of call on Norwegian’s western Caribbean itineraries and on select Caribbean sailings of sister brands Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. The development has been the subject of some controversy, as local environmentalists have questioned Harvest Caye’s impact on the region’s natural environment and small-scale tourism identity.

Indeed work on the development continued even after a Belize Supreme Court judge ruled the Belizean government had taken improper shortcuts in its environmental review of the project.

Guerrero said San Pedro officials are “doing everything possible” to alleviate vehicular traffic in the town and create parking. The town recently built its first public parking lot and will build another on the island’s northern end.

Guerrero also encouraged residents and visitors to use vehicles and carts only when necessary. “Let’s all start walking,” he said.

Travel Pulse

#512906 - 04/06/16 12:51 PM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Marty]
bywarren Offline
This talk of baning more golf carts is so off the point. Golf carts are not a problem unless someone is driving them. You can't advertise and promote more tourism, build more resorts and condos and expect less traffic.
So isn't the real solution limiting growth until the infrastructure can support it? Besides, it seems to me that the heavy construction vehicles and other large trucks contribute more to the traffic congestion than golf carts. But then again, not doing anything about the speeding vehicles might solve the problem when some tourists driving those terrible golf carts get run over and the word gets out that San Pedro is no longer a sleepy fishing village but a tourist attraction for those looking to experience road rage. frown

#512909 - 04/06/16 04:22 PM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Marty]
Chris Offline
"San Pedro has launched a moratorium on the importation of golf carts"

Bribes went up!

#512923 - 04/07/16 08:16 AM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Chris]
cracked up Offline
and it's a ways from Christmas..........

#512988 - 04/10/16 08:25 PM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Marty]
Uncle Buck Offline
San Pedro is perfectly set up for a good public transportation system. Something like a 15 seater shuttle bus that goes from, lets says, Victoria House to Captain Morgans. You could have several of these with stops about every mile. With one main road into and out of town it would be so easy to coordinate. It may be hard to implement this though, because the Taxi unions have quite abit of influence in San Pedro.

#512996 - 04/11/16 08:58 AM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Uncle Buck]
lovey and thurston Offline
They tried one some years ago. It was very short lived unfortunatly. We used it several times and thought is was great. It also had the added perk of being a presence on the road at night as a crime deterrent. The taxi union of course was not happy about it and now you see what has developed.
R.B. Mernitz

#513003 - 04/11/16 01:41 PM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Marty]
RobertJ Offline
Even if the taxis would buy it, I would assume the route would be along Boca del Rio ....which would need a MASSIVE and CONSTANT dose of maintenance.

#513005 - 04/11/16 03:01 PM Re: Golf Cart Ban Highlights Growing Tourism Profile [Re: Marty]
Go South Offline
Uber in the daytime


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