The Financial Times is carrying an interesting piece on the tourism industry in Belize, where despite high levels of crime, they managed to bring in 420,000 visitors in 2017 – which is 60,000 more than the country’s entire population. With so much money flying around, is there any way for infrastructure to catch up? Excerpt below:
On Ambergris Caye, Belize’s most popular tourist destination, the market for condos moves much more quickly than highly-priced villas, says Lyons. Her company is marketing a two-bedroom, 1,100 sq ft condo in a four-storey waterfront development for $349,000.
The growth in tourism on Ambergris has also brought new restaurants, hotels and bars, which have increased congestion and stretched the island’s resources. Electricity blackouts and drops in water pressure are common.
“There really isn’t the infrastructure for people who live there now, [let alone] the people who visit,” says Deb Shafer, who built a house on the north-end of Ambergris in 2014, with her husband, Mark.
The couple have decided to sell up — their waterfront, two-bedroom, 2,200 sq ft house with pool and rooftop deck is priced at $899,000, though Century 21. It has been on the market for six months, but the Shafers haven’t lowered the price. “We’re in no hurry,” says Mark. The property is a 40-minute ride by golf cart from the centre of San Pedro — cars are still rare on the island thanks to the barely-paved roads. “A lot of people don’t like dirt roads and golf carts,” says Deb. “It’s just not their thing.”