Letter to the Editor: Suzy Strutner

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Letters-to-the-EditorDear Editor:
My name is Suzy Strutner. I am a travel writer, author and editor for the Lifestyle & Travel Sections @ HuffingtonPost.
It is of my foremost importance to keep my readership up-to-date on my travel experiences, travel news and changes in various travel destinations.
Last week, my travel allowed me to have another 2-days stop on Ambergris Caye. Again, I wanted to have a short and private vacation stay with business observations mixed in. I had a pleasurable time!
I was urged to also inform the community about my newest impressions; and possibly beforehand.
Tourism has increased quite impressively on the island, my congratulations. Becoming famous unfortunately, has also lead to some structural and organizational problems, which have now become quite apparent. All these are impacting tourism pleasure one way or the other:
* The island still has all the potential to develop into a real treasure destination designed for high-end travel clientele without dependence on the much tougher mass and package travel market. — A Positive
* San Pedro and surroundings: Visually clean appearances on house facades and enforcement on building style requirements and height limitations seems to become one of the foremost ranked necessity to achieve. Little seems to be done to maintain, expand or rebuild a “cozy Central American building character” and appearance. –Can be Fixed
* A mix of residential and commercial buildings (zones) has mostly proven problematic and taken its toll on real estate value and future outlook. A grocery store, a bakery and deli will be needed for every residential area but anything further would be counterproductive. Preferable, vacationers want to see retail shops, souvenir shops, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants on roads and streets in town but certainly not hardware stores, gas stations or businesses with even less charming appearances– Can be Fixed
* Re-define and make Central Plaza a center point and main town attraction for tourists. There should be tables with umbrellas offering pizza, drinks and snacks to cater to vacationing guests. Which tourist would not enjoy taking a relaxing break with such a gorgeous ocean view at Central Plaza? Currently Central Plaza is merely a drive through with somewhat ugly looking vendor stands on the side of the road. Can be Fixed
* A lack on infrastructure/parking/road systems has become apparent, taking its toll for a relaxed feeling for vacation guests. The limitations to maintain orderly and safe traffic in town –especially for pedestrians– seem to be near and clear. Town has become less attractive for tourists. — A Negative, Can be Fixed
* The ocean view in town and on front ocean promenade had been further blocked by more docks, dock widenings, dock structures and more commercial boats and services. Commercialization of prime beach areas and town promenades do not mix well with tourists’ expectations. The wonderful ocean view in town had been blocked, more and more. — Can be Fixed
* Despite the sea weed invasion (most likely cause by environmental problems not related to your area), the ocean and reef on Ambergris Caye are still amongst the very best in the world. — A Big Positive
Keep the island clean, natural, cozy and small looking and you will rake the benefits for years to come!
I will be on your side, and assist with pleasure.
I will be visiting again.
/s/ Suzy Strutner
Los Angeles, CA


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