Let’s revive the economy with tourism

Between my visits to the interior, often in the company of tourists, I realize the imminent need to fix the roads that are in deplorable condition. Although Inguat has all the creativity in the world and the intention to promote Guatemala in a competitive way, three things prevent them from doing so: a) lack of budget; b) the deplorable roads and c) the national strikes.

We must never forget the small artisan, the tour guide, the small hostel and the coffee shops in the villages.
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Knowing that in the world’s largest economy 10,000 people retire every day, we should pay attention to make it easier for retired tourists to want to stay with us, because the money they bring undoubtedly stimulates the economy.

For example, Panama is synonymous with sun, which is why it is one of the most popular destinations for Americans. Ecuador is also, but it is farther away. Costa Rica is attractive because it sells beautiful paradises in its beaches and green landscapes. Antigua Guatemala is also another fantastic destination, because of its climate, its centuries-old history, its culture and, especially, the friendliness of its people. Guatemala is a gold mine for tourism that we have not known how to exploit.

However, we must consider the support of the local community as basic. It is important to take into account the hotels, restaurants, resorts and tourist chains throughout the republic as primordial in the equation. We must never forget the small artisan, the tour guide, the small hostel and the village coffee shops.

When we stop encouraging poverty, lack of education and lack of incentives to small merchants, small artists or artisans, the paradigm can change. Without the support of communities, tourism often becomes an unsustainable product, so it all goes hand in hand.

But let’s get to the point: what good is it if Inguat has excellent initiatives to encourage tourism, if the roads do not allow tourists to travel safely from one place to another? During my last visit to Ecuador I was able to see the incredible road infrastructure they have, with first world roads. What is wrong with us?

According to the Road Development Plan 2018-2032, Guatemala needs to invest in 21,165.29 km of new roads and the reclassification of 7,691.67 km of the existing road network. We need to go from 17,440.23 km to 37,951.89 km! This would imply increasing construction capacity to 1,500 km of road network per year. However, instead of this happening by improving our road system, the existing roads are increasingly lacking maintenance and it is embarrassing when our tourists see our crumbling roads.

We must also expand local connectivity (secondary road network) and boost the local economy. How? through rural roads (tertiary road network), but it seems that these are only dreams, because since 2013 not a single kilometer has been built on the road network. With mounds, holes, potholes, potholes, holes, poor signage, poorly designed slopes and bridges on the verge of collapse, it would seem that we have gone back 80 years. Who is affected? Everyone.

I cannot emphasize how crucial this very serious problem is for us, because we are ahead of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Panama, among others. In conclusion, the remedy must be aggressive, since the main routes are saturated to move from one department to another. If the roads are the face of the country for tourist activities, why are we not paying attention to them?

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