QCOSTARICA – The lack of maintenance in the last two years and the impact of the rainy season have put the state of the national routes in a critical situation, which is negatively affecting the tourism activity in the country, according to the tourism business sector.
In addition to this, there are five national highways that are of great importance to the country’s touristic visit, which have a greater risk of landslides, according to the Asociación Costarricense de Geotecnia (Geotechnics Association of Costa Rica).
“The state of the road infrastructure is a national emergency and affects tourism-related services,” said Roger Sans, president of the Southern Caribbean Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.
“The increase in travel time, both of visitors and the distribution 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 authorities and public and private organizations were not addressed and this led to a large-scale infrastructural deficit,” Sans said.
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The completion of Ruta 32 and the continuous inconvenience due to landslides in the Zurquí area, as well as the situation of the access bridges of Ruta 36 and Ruta 256, are among the main inconveniences in the Caribbean area, according to Sans.
Similarly, security related to the maintenance of road infrastructure and surroundings is vital so that visitors do not have to fear when traveling to different destinations, according to Arnoldo Beach, vice president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH). . .
“When tourists choose where to vacation, a significant part for them is security, which ranges from robbery to road safety, so the road infrastructure in the country must be well managed and in perfect condition so that the tourist feels comfortable, especially now, when visitors hire a vehicle and travel across the country to different areas, road safety is always very important to the tourist visiting us,” Beach said.
In order to prevent tourists from suffering an “ordeal” when traveling, it is vital that national authorities pay immediate attention to situations such as landslides on Route 32 or subsidence (as at km 44) as on Route 27, Beech believes.
In addition, a solution must be found for road projects that are delayed because the concession companies paralyze them, such as the wait between 20 and 30 years for highways to San Carlos and Monteverde, two major tourist areas.
“The attention and improvement of the roads, even with new projects, is an issue that needs to be analyzed in a more regional way,” says Hernan Imhof, president of the Tamarindo Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
And this is that, despite the fact that in recent years the province of Guanacaste has received significant investment in road infrastructure in several of its cantons, this does not mean that it is enough, according to the businessman.
“The result can be very useful for the service sector, especially for rural community tourism, the generation of economic development lies in accessing rural communities in Guanacaste as a new tourism niche, especially after Covid,” said Imhof.
Likewise, good road connectivity to access the country’s rural communities would benefit long-term tourists who choose Costa Rica to take advantage 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 legislators, as much of the resources for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) come from the Legislative Assembly.
Similarly, local authorities should 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.
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