Quintana Roo Has Plans for Ambergris Caye


During last week's Mexico-Belize Friendship week, conferences were held concerning future cooperation between Mexico and Belize on various projects. Included were the possibility of Ambergris Caye receiving water and electricity from Mexico via the X'calak area and the mutual development of tourism facilities along the coast, including north Ambergris Caye. Mexico and the State of Quintana Roo have embarked on an ambitious development plan, the Costa Maya development. Many facilities to accommodate this have already been built, such as a pier at X'calak which will allow the docking of a 30 car capacity ferry. The ferry would make round trips from Chetumal to X'calak. On March 1, 1996, The San Pedro Sun featured a story about the Costa Maya project, which will include 18 eco-touristic resorts along a 78 mile stretch of seashore from X'calak north to Punta Herrero. Three small towns are in this area, Punta Herrero, Majagual and X'calak, with a total population of approximately 1500. A master plan was developed by Koll International at a cost of $550,000 USD. Majagual will be the main tourism center with the other two towns subcenters. The Mexican government expects the project to create a "fountain of jobs, diversification of economic activity, the obtaining of foreign currency, and dynamization of the economy." Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Government of Mexico will spend one billion dollars on the project. The Ambergris Caye/San Pedro area can also be a part of the project, if Belize and the island so choose.

Godsman Ellis attended the Belize/Mexico sessions on tourism and reported the following:

"In the Mexico presentation the following points were raised: 1. The Costa Maya Plan is already in progress and has the following salient features:

a) It is a part of the Mundo Maya Concept in that it views Belize as an integral part of the promotion. These include the archaeology, rainforest, beaches, coastal attractions and the commercial services.

b) The plan for infrastructure and facilities include linking X'calak with San Pedro by road, building a bridge at La Union thus linking with Blue Creek, Orange Walk, the supplying of electricity and water from X'calak to San Pedro. Discussions have already started with the Prime Minister.

c) The International Airport at Chetumal will be accommodating aircraft from the U.S. and Europe - like Cancun - with the view of serving Belize.

d) The faculty on eco-tourism studies will be transferred from the University of Quintana Roo, Chetumal, to Tulum.

2. The initiative of integrating the two states, Quintana Roo and Belize is high on the priority of the Governor of Quintana Roo. He will spare no efforts to have the Federal Government make this happen. This is viewed within the context of globalization, integration and trade liberalization.

In his address the Honourable Minister Fernandez revealed that negotiations are now on going with Quintana Roo for increased trade though unfortunately the imbalance of trade still remains significantly high. Other reciprocal measures need to be found. The NEED for the participation of the private sector was brought up in the discussion, as an important component of the development process. This being accepted, the question of the mechanisms and structures to make this happen was raised.

NOW WHAT DO WE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR DO ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?

Godsman Ellis

Difficulties experienced by visitors and traders at border points were brought up and it is a question that should be addressed."

Editor's Note: Godsman Ellis was president of the Belize Tourism Industry Association from June 1994 to June of 1996.




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