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Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 1,183
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In February of this year the the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce published a survey of Wil Lala on the increase of new accommodations, that was also printed in Ambergris Today.

I was quite concerned about the figures presented in that survey, but noticed that not many people actually had read it. That's why I am posting the same conclusion again, to see what input you might have on this subject.


Originally Posted by Chamber of Commerce
Rapid Accommodation Expansion

As a San Pedro Warden for the US Embassy I have spent much of the last three weeks gathering location and contact information on the resorts, condos and other vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye. This will be used for disaster planning and locating tourists in the event of an emergency. This information was also shared with NEMO and BTIA.

My last survey was in January 2005 at which time there were 1232 rooms. In the last two years approximately 300 rooms have been added. This means we have had a nearly 25% increase in rooms in the last two years.

During this same time there has been only an 18% increase in passengers flown to San Pedro from Goldson International Airport. This would indicate a decrease in occupancy that many of the hotels are reporting.

There are an additional 680 rooms under construction to open within the next 18 months. This would then total to be a 75 percent increase over 2005. By Christmas 2008 there will be over 2200 rooms on Ambergris Caye. Most of this new upscale construction is north of the river where 17 new resorts have opened or will soon open.

Nearly three fourths of Ambergris Caye's one hundred plus properties are owned by Americans and about 15% by Belizeans. The rest are owned by people from Canadian, the UK, Guatemala, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Mexico. Most all of the management and staff are Belizeans.

Wil Lala

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Need more airlift from the US Canada and Europe to fill those rooms and lots more rooms being built elsewhere, like Placencia, Hopkins, etc. Major problem for people who sell rooms.

Belize based travel specialist
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
I have a totally different take on this. Supply and demand are integrated, but you must expand each within the capacity of the other for the optimum result. The figures apparently show that supply is outpacing demand. Now many, unfortunately IMO, believe the answer to that is to increase demand and believe that development equals progress. And, on AC, there seems to be the attitude of "build it and they will come"

The unfortunate part missing in the equation is that demand is influenced in many ways. It is not just getting more air service to Belize or spending more money on advertising. It is also very influenced by such things as INFRASTRUCTURE. There is a finite number of tourists that can be attracted to Belize and that will return for future visits. I have listened to far too many tourists complain about the roads, lack of electricity and water, etc. and the cost of flying to and vacationing in Belize. I have watched the price of rooms and services increase over the years. Now that is fine as long as the demand is there. But it is possible to reach the point of diminishing returns.

There is also a limited amount of land available for development on AC and destruction of the marine environment thru dredging and, sorry for the overused term, wetlands to create more land to build on is detrimental in the long run.

IMO, there should be a moratorium on building and a restructuring of the tax system so that the necessary improvements to the infrastructure could be done to meet the demand. To me it is not that demand is not keeping up with supply so much as the infrastructure and related services are not keeping up with the demand.

As to the tax system, that is a whole other debate. Briefly my thoughts on that are, for what I pay for property tax on my condo, I am definitely getting what I pay for i.e.: not much. Ebbe brought up a good point of how the tax burden is unfair to him. AC cannot expect to fund the necessary improvements by taxing the businesses and the tourists. There is a huge tax basis that is there due to the construction of the many condos and homes that I do not believe is being utilized in fairness.

I believe if this approach were taken, the businesses already on AC would be more profitable and the quality of life for those of us living there would be improved. Just my thoughts.

Last edited by bywarren; 06/12/07 03:49 PM.
Does anyone know when the lengthened runway at the International becomes active? It won't be long after that when flights start arriving direct from Europe.

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 364
Bywarren, you really have some interesting points.

One of the main problems is that none in power has any experience (and probably no education or other qualifications either) when it comes to dealing with the development of the island. Everything is basically for sale to the highest bidder; and for a long time this has been a playground for developers with enough cash or connections to do whatever they want, regardless of environment, infrastructure etc.

Government and Town Board are definitely not going to support any real limitations. In my opinion they also seem to be in it for the quick buck, which is very sad. When Government is selling off thousands of acres (or at least trying to), they seem to be willing to let anything happen to the land, as long as they get their cash. A far as I know, our own Town Board is also selling off lots of land at way below what must be considered reasonable market value. It is all about having fun and money here and now without much thought of the future. Kind of like an alcoholic spending his last 20 dollars on a bottle of rum and peeing in his pants to stay warm at night.

Not one single dollar of the stamp duty, property tax, business licenses etc. that are being collected in North A.C. by G.O.B. and Town Board are being spent on infrastructure, planning and development in these areas; and at the same time the little money available after the better part has vanished into thin air, are being spent on projects that seem to be based on very short term (if any) planning, i.e. the port at the south western side of the island and the numerous re-designs of Central Park.

This might not be about the rooms/arrivals issue, but it has a lot to do with it. We cannot expect to build house after house after house without anyone caring about what is going on outside the walls of these houses. If people don't get their act together pretty soon, I would hate to see this place twenty-five years from now, and I surely wouldn't know many people who would come here when they could go somewhere else with the same weather and more things to do and spend less money.

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 8,868
A tremendous lot of time and money has been expended in the not-so-distant past on planning for development of North Ambergris. Remember when Fidel Ancona headed a committee/commission? What ever became of all that?

Last edited by Jesse; 06/13/07 01:45 PM.
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
Weile and Jesse, you highlight the obvious. It is not difficult for any of us to see the problems that exist. Getting anyone to do anything about it because of short term greed is the problem.

I am very pessimistic about the future of AC. My only hope is that enough people that have considerable invested in AC will be able to get together and effect change. It certainly will not happen thru any current goverment body in Belize.

Back when most of the island was owned by San Pedranos, there was an effort to keep it "Isla Bonita". Now that most of it has been sold off, money and greed have taken over.

Sorry for the negative thoughts, it just pisses me off.

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,888
Here is a question for Barb K. and Katie V.

Are there any tour operators from Europe stepping up to sell Belize? I think just because the jumbo jets can land doesn't mean there will be a flood of new tourists.

I have been looking into a non-stop flight package for Canadians to vacation in Belize. However until there is one hotel which can accomodate 200+ tourists for a week at a time it will be a logistical nightmare to sell a package deal.

Also the "All inclusive" packages appeal to many people...sad but true.

The skydive event has had 92, 127, 167 participants the past three years. Most of the comments I recieve are favorable and many have fallen in love with AC.

The few negative comments are...
It's too hard to fly to Belize from Canada and Europe.
The island is growing too fast.
The trash is disgusting.
There is no "all inclusive resort".
The time share sales are a bother.
The traffic is crazy.

The positives are...
The food is fantastic.
The ocean is amazing.
The people are tremendous!
It's the most beautiful place in the world to jump!

And as we all know, how much should it cost to run a small country of about 300,000 residents?
Belize should be the wealthiest place in Central America...damn that $35+ exit fee irks me!

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,733
Ambasadair, out of Indianapolis, did for years what you are talking about. They flew a charter from Indianapolis to Belize.

PS: some other thoughts on your positives and negatives. The food is already good so nothing need be done there. How could any other place duplicate the ocean and reef Belize has? How difficult would it be for another place to train people to have the wonderful attitude, for now, of the Belizeans?

Now, how difficult should it be to control the growth, handle the trash, traffic and time share problems?

Last edited by bywarren; 06/13/07 06:12 PM.
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,888
And handle the GOB...start there and problems solved!

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