Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CAYE CAULKER, BELIZE, beach reclamation project. 2012.

Rental beach condos on Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker the SPLIT.
Caye Caulker tourist island, one of the TEN BEST in the world.
Caye Caulker beach 2012
Caye Caulker laid back beach bar.

I don´t know if Dean Barrow leader of the incumbent UDP was serious when the word got out late last year, that the government would refurbish the tourist infra-structure beach product on San Pedro and Caye Caulker. Let us assume it just was not a pre-election gimmick and rhetoric to win votes, without actually doing it.

Certainly these two major government tourist taxes revenue centers are in need of doing work. It is the role of the government to do the infra-structure that is too big for individuals to do.

If, and it is a big IF, the dredging does start filling up the beaches this year, I have been looking over the situation on Caye Caulker, since I am here for the dry season four months, for my health. Being intimately familiar with TOURISM, I can say my opinion is valuable to the government, even if I am a FREE CONSULTANT.

Presuming on Caye Caulker the plans are REAL and not phoney pre-election promise tricks, I expect the government will do the least possible. That is re-fill the beach between the SPLIT and the AIRSTRIP. That would take care of our current tourist package. However, I think that would be a mistake.

Caye Caulker is no longer a village. It is in fact a small TOWN as big as a lot of the towns in Belize. Bigger than Punta Gorda or Dangriga. That said, we should look at the interest of any government next taking office in March, 2012. The interest of the Government is in TAX REVENUES and they get theirs from hotel taxes and GST. At the moment, tourism nationwide is providing 25%, as a rough estimate of all government revenues. The biggest revenue earners being Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker for tourism. If you look at the development on Caye Caulker it is now overflowing past the airstrip to the south point of the island. There are new subdivisions and streets surveyed back there by private developers. The same is true on the North part of the island over the strip. There are undeveloped subdivisions over there.
A Caribbean island is selling sandy beaches, emerald green clear warm water and coconut trees. These are the main tourist ingredient attractions. To fill the beach between the airstrip and the Split would be good and beneficial. But if you look at the town growth that is occuring, you can forecast quite easily, that the town of Caye Caulker will double in size, within 6 to 15 years. Especially if the USA economy picks up and I have no doubt that the next three years will be a basing, foundation in the USA economy and the world in general. After that we will be in another BULL MARKET economy. The time when income flows for investment will roll into Belize on many fronts, but particularly in tourism.
The question is; what kind of tourism investment do you want for the island of Caye Caulker? If you are the GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE, you want jobs, construction, and hotels and big money earners. What is going to happen, in a country, where you only get beach reclamation once every ten or fifteen years; what is done this year, if it actually gets done, will decide the future tax revenues the GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE will make off CAYE CAULKER over the next 15 years.
That southern end of the island is already privately owned and being subdivided and streets laid out, lots sold and houses being built. BUUUUT! There is no sandy beach. Without a beach, that huge Southern end of the island south of the airstrip will develop automatically into small residential vacation homes. People will take their golf carts and drive up to the beaches and entertainment on the existing sea front in front of the old village/town. If the government is going to do it right, they want investment money to go commercial on that Southern part of the island south of the airstrip. Hotels, stores, boutiques, restaurants, etc.
I´m coming back again to the politically promised beach reclamation on Caye Caulker for 2012. For the bureaucrats to confine their work between the SPLIT and the airstrip, you are going to maintain the STATUS QUO. Whatever tax revenues, jobs and construction you get money from, will be limited as the town expands. The percentage of 25% of general revenues from tourism, will not grow annually, as a source of revenues for the government. It will stagnate. That portion, will become smaller percentage wise, as the population grows, the need for jobs grows over the next six to fifteen years. What you need to do, is if you are going to do the beach reclamation project, it should plan on running down a half mile south of the AIRSTRIP and a half a mile on the Northern island where there is currently no beach. But there are streets platted and lots subdivided by private developers in there.
If you want investment money, the role of the government is to provide the beach on the island. Easily done, at relatively low cost right now. Now if you start reconsidering what you will do in fifteen years, when you have to do it again, then eventually thirty years out, the WHOLE ISLAND from the south point to the north point will have a good dredged beach, like in front of the current village and like they do in TEXAS and South Florida.
Incoming tourist development will follow, only if you have a beach to sell to tourists. That is the job of the Government.
So this year, I think starting a half mile North of the SPLIT on the north island, all along the current town and then a half mile south of the airstrip is what should be dredged and filled this year. THINK ABOUT IT! Show some foresight and planning instead of knee jerk reactions at a minimal scale. Plan for future growth over the next 15 years. Caye Caulker town could and probably will double in size and if it has the beaches will TRIPLE in size. All in the next fifteen years. Will it develop tourism commercial, or tourism vacation residential? That is the question.

No comments: