The poor condition of national roads affects tourism development in the country – Q COSTA RICA

QCOSTARICA – According to the tourism business sector, the lack of maintenance over the past two years and the impact of the rainy season have put the condition of national routes in a critical situation, which is negatively impacting the country’s tourism activities.

A road maintenance plan has not been available for more than two years

In addition, there are five national highways of great importance to tourist visits to the country, which carry a greater risk of landslides, according to the Asociación Costarricense de Geotecnia (Costa Rica Geotechnical Association).

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

“The increase in travel times in these areas, both in the distribution of visitors and in the distribution of products and services, was not reflected in the increase in public investments for the improvement of routes. “The allegations made in the past by both local governments and community and private organizations have not been addressed, resulting in a large-scale infrastructure deficit.”

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

According to Sans, the continual disturbances from the completion of Ruta 32 and landslides in the Zurquí region, as well as the condition of the access bridges of Ruta 36 and Ruta 256, are among the main disturbances in the Caribbean region.

Similarly, according to Arnoldo Beeche, vice president of the Costa Rica Chamber of Hotels (CCH), safety associated with the maintenance of road infrastructure and surroundings is vital so that visitors are not afraid when traveling to different destinations. . .

“When tourists choose where to vacation, an important part for them is safety, ranging from theft to road safety, so the country’s road infrastructure must be well managed and in perfect condition for the tourist to feel comfortable, especially now when visitors are renting a car. Vehicle and travel to different regions around the country, road safety is always very important for the tourist visiting us.

Beeche said it’s vital that national authorities take immediate attention to situations such as a landslide on Ruta 32 or a sinking (as in 44 km) on Ruta 27, to prevent tourists from suffering a “suffering” as they wander around.

There must also be a solution to road projects that have been delayed because concession companies have paralyzed them, such as the 20 to 30-year wait for the highways to two major tourist destinations, San Carlos and Monteverde.

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

And although the state of Guanacaste has received significant investments in road infrastructure in several cantons in recent years, that doesn’t mean it’s enough, according to the businessman.

“The result could be very beneficial for the service sector, particularly rural community tourism, with access to rural communities in Guanacaste finding economic development production as a new tourism niche, especially post-Covid,” Imhoff said. Said.

Likewise, a good road connection to access rural communities in the country will benefit long-term tourists who choose Costa Rica to take advantage of the Digital Nomad Act.

Meanwhile, business representatives from the tourism sector are waiting for a positive response for investments in road infrastructure from both central government and legislators, as most of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) resources come from the Legislature.

Likewise, local governments will make the necessary investments for the maintenance of cantonal roads, especially in rural and coastal areas where many local and foreign visitors are mobilized.

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