MOPT On "Yellow Alert", Minister Says
The tourism industry is pleading with the government for an immediate intervention in infrastructure, mainly to the country’s road network, bridges and rural routes.
This call comes days after many hotels in Guanacaste saw their occupancy levels drop to the floor, as many tourists – both national and foreign – cancelled their reservations following the collapse of the Interamericana Norte.
Huan Carlos Ramos, president of the Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur), says the government has to take action against the heavy rain of the season.
Last Wednesday, the roadway at the rio Seco on the Interamericana near Miramar was washed away, forcing the MOPT to shut down the road to effect repairs, detouring traffic onto the alternate routes, collapsing them under heavy traffic, one of which was shut down temporarily due to a truck collision.
The road was re-opened by Friday night but the damage to the long weekend tourism had been done.
To make matters worse, Friday morning the San José – Caldera was also shut down between Orotina and Atenas, also due to heavy rain causing mudslides.
The Ruta 32, San José – Guapiles is another major road that is a touch and go, could be closed at any moment, also due to heavy rain and mudslides.
The Canatur president suggests that the government make a complete inspection of all the bridges and roads deemed high risk. Ramos said “we are in August and the worst of the rainy season is yet to come”.
Ramos says that government has to place priority on the “vital” routes like the Interamericana.
At least 40% of the hotels in Guanacaste on Friday reported cancellations.
For his part, the Ministro de Obras Pulicas y Transportes (MOPT) minister, Francisco Jiménez, says the MOPT is on “yellow alert” following the announcement by the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) is calling this one of the worst winters (rainy season) on record.