Thursday, April 18, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Island impressions from a Dutch tourist


Letters-to-the-EditorDear Editor,
We stayed 2010 first and came back again in winter for another time.
Earlier we had found The San Pedro Sun online and started to read it from back home. We were not sure if our impression about the downward trend of the island was just our European taste but now we see that also many Americans see it the same way. This letter is to support a better San Pedro and a better Ambergris Caye. We are very concerned!
A new flight connection made it much easier the second time, without overnight from Europe and we were already thinking about the possibility of returning more often.
Our Dutch run and owned small resort was nearly unchanged and still as clean and charming. It had also kept its beautiful island style we tourists like so much. We had a great time there.
The rest was rather disappointing the second time.
In town, we were in noise, heavy and often dangerous traffic, car and taxi drivers paying attention to their cell phones while driving plus often stinking, load vehicles, many were without mufflers. It felt like Little Saigon, Vietnam rather than a charming fishing and tourist town on a Caribbean island.
On our first visit we had never used the road and only the boat service but now the road was made new to the North. Now you drive through polluted mangrove areas, filled with old refrigerators, bicycles and other trash deposits in the swamps. So sad to see this.
Down in the South [part of the island] there were many oversized and unsightly advertising signs tainting beautiful nature all over around. We had many dangerously speeding cars feeling like they were on the Autobahn, leaving us behind in dust clouds. They did not care about us.
On the ocean and beaches most empty properties look like trash deposit sites and they are probably used just as that.
In town and all over the island there are newly constructed buildings with low visual appeal. Most new construction since 2010 have the ugly look of a large Benzene station [gas station] or cheap public housing in an overpopulated city.
Why do you allow so many high and ugly time-share concrete blocks!
Why do you want to look like Miami?
How can this happen on a so beautiful island? Why?
When tourists come to visit they want an island to be clean, green and environmentally responsible. We don’t want to take vacation in an ugly and cheap concrete block. For that we could just fly to Cancun and pay half the price.
Here in the Netherlands we have things run by well-trained experts. Our typical Dutch building style and a visual attractive and clean appeal is most important for our tourism and the success is proven.
Best wishes from the clean and tourist friendly Netherlands.
Zoë M. Van Dijk
Sint-Oedenrode, North Brabant
The Netherlands, EU

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