Low-key Charm of Ambergris Caye
In my last issue we spoke about the importance of the cayes as Marine tourism Zones and the popularity that many of these islands enjoy, in particular Ambergris Caye. It is in my opinion that the challenge to these very popular vacation areas will be to maintain and enhance the low-key charm of these regions. Let us look at Ambergris Caye and see some simple ways that this can be done.
To some people Ambergris Caye has grown too fast and in some sectors things are going out of control. There are certainly some visible signs of this in "La Isla Bonita." Most people will agree that the existing traffic conditions are out of control and there seems to be no remedy in sight. In fact, credit must be given to Ambeigris Today, which is perhaps the only newspaper to openly attack the nature of this problem and rightly so because moratoriums are not the answer.
The special and valuable character of Ambergris Caye has certairily, changed from a small sleepy fishing village to a more developed tourist island with condos, time-shares, pizzas and more. Gone are most of the old traditions that can only be found by reading "Twenty Five Years Ago" a weekly column of this paper. Certainly it is not conceivable that time will sit still on Ambergris Caye, but perhaps we should ask- does change have to be drastic? There are certainly lots of simple things we can do to keep "La Isla Bonita" attractive in a traditional way.
For example, tourism development applications will need to he carefully evaluated with the intent of encouraging practices that reflect this special ambience. Here special mention should be made of The Tides Hotel that certainly took this into consideration. These concepts need not apply to hotels only- business establishments should also be recognized and encouraged. Mention should be made of Suya Tours for using local materials in the costruction of their tour offices, -a look that is most pleasing to the eyes. Proper usage of the front street should be encouraged to create an attractive boardwalk as such. The placing of tables for small restaurants as done by Rasta Pasta and cafe Amnesia should be welcomed and encouragcd~ these are certainly preferred improvements rather than having irate tax] drivers speed on Barrier Reef Dr.
Litter control should be given top
priority; also much more planting of trees
should be encouraged to include a
revegetation and planting plan. Paint
should be completely duty free so as to
encourage a rainbow of color schemes for
San Pedro Town. So you see not
everything needs outside funding or loads
of cash. Creativity and a deep
understanding of not exceeding the limits of
acceptable change are some of the key
elements of keeping the balance between
the old and new. Until next time...
"Tourism, we make it Happen."
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