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

QCOSTARICA – The lack of maintenance in the last two years and the impact of the rainy season have put the state of national routes in a critical state, which is negatively affecting the country’s tourism activity, according to the tourism industry.

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

In addition, there are five national highways, of great importance for the country’s tourist visit, which have a higher risk of landslides, according to the Asociación Costarricense de Geotecnia (Association of Geotechnicians of Costa Rica).

“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 time, both of visitors and the delivery of products and services in these areas, has not been reflected in the increase in public investment to improve routes. In the past, claims 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 to the construction and maintenance of Costa Rica’s highway infrastructure

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

Likewise, safety, related to the maintenance of the road infrastructure and its environment, is vital so that visitors do not feel afraid 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, an important part for them is safety, which ranges from robberies to road safety, so the country’s road infrastructure must be well managed and in excellent condition so that the tourist feels comfortable, especially now that visitors are renting a vehicle and traveling across the country to different areas, road safety is always very important to the tourist visiting us,” said Beech.

To avoid tourists suffering “an ordeal” when they are out and about, it is vital that national authorities pay immediate attention to situations such as landslides on Ruta 32 or subsidence (as at km 44) as on Ruta 27, Beeche believes.

Additionally, road projects that have been delayed because concessionaires are stalling must be resolved, such as the 20- to 30-year wait for highways to San Carlos and Monteverde, two major tourist areas.

“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 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 they are enough, according to the businessman.

“The result can be very beneficial for the service sector, especially for rural community tourism, the creation of economic development lies in accessing rural communities in Guanacaste as a new tourism location, especially after Covid,” said Imhoff.

Similarly, good road connectivity to access the country’s rural communities would benefit long-stay tourists who choose Costa Rica to enjoy the benefits of the Digital Nomads Act.

Meanwhile, business representatives from the tourism sector are expecting a positive response for investment in road infrastructure from both the Central Government and lawmakers, as much of the funding for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) comes from the Legislative Assembly .

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

In the Republic

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