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Mar 28, 2002

Belizeans head out for holiday weekend

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Traffic in town was at a standstill, the bus stations packed, airstrips crowded and marine terminal ram jam with Belizeans and tourists alike. It’s all part of this year’s Easter exodus. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods, who unfortunately had to work all day, has the story.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Transportation services were working overtime today in an all out effort to get passengers to their holiday destinations. Easter is one of the busiest times of year and those in the travel industry say that additional runs must be scheduled to manage the increase of traffic at the airline, boat and bus stations.

Jacqueline Woods

“I know a number of tourists have been heading out to the islands, what about Belizeans?”

Barbara Miller, Station Manager, Tropic Air

“It’s Belizeans and tourists. The numbers of Belizeans and tourists and increasing; both of them.”

At the municipal airstrip, both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air were confirming reservations and making sure that there would be sufficient flights to accommodate the crowd at the airport.

Barbara Miller

“At the moment we put on eleven flights per day to San Pedro. We put on five flights a day to Dangriga, Placencia and Punta Gorda. And we are using sometimes two and three planes on each flight, so we’re doing pretty good.”

Winston Trapp, Marketing Director, Maya Island Air

“We are very excited about it. We see a great significant increase in traffic, we’re looking at a fifty percent increase as far a people travelling out to the islands, going down south to the Placencia area, the different resorts. So we’re very much excited and see a great turnout. Actually starting today from midday on, we’re gonna see a fifty percent increase in traffic.”

For those people who decided to travel by road, it was just as hectic. This afternoon, after most businesses had closed for the day, the Novelos Bus Terminal was quickly overwhelmed with anxious passengers who sat or stood in line to get on the next available transport. Meanwhile on the other side of town, the Belize City marine terminal was filled to capacity.

Howell Garbutt, Manager, Marine Terminal

“Normally around this time of the year, we get people who are out of school. School is closed, so we get the kids going to the cayes earlier in the morning. Sometime this afternoon, we get all the people that have been working all morning and they are going to go out there some time this afternoon to spend the weekend.”

Manager of the Marine Terminal, Howell Garbutt, says a meeting was held to make sure that once the passengers are on board, the trip across the water will be as safe as possible.

Howell Garbutt

“We had a meeting among ourselves; the water taxi operators and like every year, we ensure that the licence capacity of the boats are up to standard with the Port Authority. We also make sure that all the lifejackets, the anchors, all the safety equipment are onboard the boat. So we are pretty much used to this and we are pretty much prepared for this.”

The advice may be a bit late for many frantic travellers, but the earlier you show up at the bus, plane or boat, the more relaxed your travelling experience will be. Jacqueline Woods, for News 5.

And remember, if you or your loved ones are going out in a boat this weekend, make sure that at minimum there are life preservers, water, a paddle and cell phone aboard. Lest we leave the mistaken impression that all travellers are headed for the water, there is plenty happening this weekend on the mainland. Among the events is the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Easter fair to be held on Saturday and Sunday. The fair features live entertainment, sports, carnival rides and the usual food and drinks in abundance.

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