Thursday 29 September 2022

Poor state of national roads affects tourism development in the country

Infrastructure situation is classified as a national emergency by the business sector; Visitors require road safety to move to different destinations

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QCOSTARICA – The lack of maintenance during the last two years and the impact of the rainy season have put the state of the national routes in a critical situation, which negatively affects the country’s tourist activity, according to the tourism business sector.

A road maintenance plan has been non-existent for more than two years

In addition to this, there are five national highways, of great importance for the tourist visitation of the country, which have a greater risk of landslides, according to the Asociación Costarricense de Geotecnia (Costa Rican Association of Geotechnics).

“The state of the road infrastructure is a national emergency and impacts services related to tourism,” says Roger Sans, president of the South Caribbean Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.

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“The increase in travel times, both of visitors and distribution of products and services in these areas, has not been reflected in the increase in public investment for the improvement of routes. In the past, the claims that have been made by both local governments and community and private organizations have not been addressed, and this has caused a large-scale infrastructure deficit,” said Sans.

Read more: A possible short term solution for the construction and maintenance of the Costa Rica highway infrastructure

The completion of Ruta 32 and the continuous inconveniences due to landslides in the Zurquí area, as well as the situation of the access bridges of Ruta 36 and Ruta 256, are among the main inconveniences in the Caribbean area, according to Sans.

Similarly, security, associated with the maintenance of the road infrastructure and its surroundings, is of vital importance so that visitors do not have fear when traveling to different destinations, according to Arnoldo Beeche, vice president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH). .

“When tourists choose where to vacation, a significant part for them is security, which ranges from robberies to road safety, so the country’s road infrastructure must be well managed and in perfect condition so that the tourist feels comfortable, especially now that visitors rent a vehicle and travel around the country to different areas, road safety is always very important for the tourist who visits us,” said Beech.

To prevent tourists from suffering “an ordeal” getting around, it is vital that the national authorities pay prompt attention to situations such as landslides on Ruta 32 or sinking (as in on km 44) as on the Ruta 27, considers Beeche.

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In addition, a solution must be given to road projects that are postponed because concession companies paralyze them, such as the wait of between 20 and 30 years for highways to San Carlos and Monteverde, two major tourist visiting areas.

“The attention and improvement of the roads, even with new projects, is an issue that should be analyzed in a more regional way,” says Hernán Imhoff, president of the Tamarindo Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

And it is that despite the fact that in recent years the province of Guanacaste has received significant investments in road infrastructure in several of its cantons, it does not mean that it is enough, according to the businessman.

“The result can be very beneficial for the service sector, especially for rural community tourism, the generation of economic development is found in access to rural communities in Guanacaste as a new tourism niche, especially post-Covid,” Imhoff said.

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Likewise, good road connectivity for access to rural communities in the country would benefit long-stay tourists who choose Costa Rica to enjoy the benefits of the Digital Nomads Law.

Meanwhile, business representatives from the tourism sector expect a positive response for investments in road infrastructure, both from the Central government and from legislators, since much of the resources for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) come from the Legislative Assembly.

Similarly, local governments are also to make the necessary investments in the maintenance of cantonal roads, especially in rural and coastal areas where a large number of national and foreign visitors are mobilized.

La Republica

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